The Furious Bee

This week I have been busy teaching art classes to kids at the museum. In the morning we had a group from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center and in the afternoon a group of kids from Lily Mission. All of the kids are african-american and most seem to lack any aesthetic appreciation for art. The week of classes is made possible by a grant and these kids are able to attend the art classes free of charge. These kids are a much different mix compared to the kids we usually have sign up and take classes at the museum. So it’s been interesting. I have had a few frustrations, but for the most part I really enjoy having the opportunity to provide these kids with some fun art experiences that they may have never had otherwise. I also got the chance to try out a few new projects this week.

On Tuesday, during my lunch break I took my journal and visited the Hurst Gallery where there is an exhibit of women’s clothing and acessories spanning 100 years from 1840 – 1940. It is quite fabulous and I enjoyed sketching a few things…although my time was cut short because the afternoon group showed up 20 minutes early that day. I was interested in the dress clip, as I did not even know such things ever existed…of course, in my generation there is no need…but I just thought it was an interesting piece. The dress I drew was very plain, but I loved the unique steel buttons. The description mentioned that a few were missing and had been replaced. I also thought the velvet trim on the hem was a nice finish to a plain dress. Today we finished our tempera batik…I had tried one of these at the MAEA Convention a couple of years ago with little success. I did not try another until now. Some of them turned out fabulous. There is a trick to the ink though…in a book I read to let it dry for 30 minutes…not good results with that…a lesser amount of time, say 15 minutes or so was much more successful and yielded stunning results. A couple of the kids’ batiks did not turn out real well because we waited to long…also the tempera must be mixed with white (pastel colors) and painted on fairly thick in order to prevent the ink from soaking into the paper where it has been painted.

I used my batik for a book cover for a small journal (another project I did with the kids). I like the way it turned out as a cover. Tonight we decided to be lazy and go out again…we were hoping for the 5.00 pizzas at little ceasar’s, but there were so many people ordering pizza that they had none on hand and we had to wait almost 45 minutes for our order, during which I snuck a little cat nap in the car in between hearing Karson cry every 5 minutes and me telling Savannah to feed him another cracker to pacify him a little longer while he sat in his carseat with the sun beating down on him. (Is it ok to have run-on sentences in a blog?…’cause I could have made that even longer.) So the Pizza finally came out with Sam looking a little stressed after waiting in the crowded take out only restaurant. We were off to Cascades…found a picnic table and mowed on the pizza…it was worth it, it’s been a long time since I have had pizza that came out of the oven 5 minutes ago. Anyway, Cyndi and the kids went along with us and we supplemented the meal with carrots and grapes that we brought from home in an effort to give our kids a healthy meal. Aren’t we good moms? It wasn’t to long before Andrew announced his need to use the facilities in a much less polite way of course. So I took him and Savannah across the street, over the river and to the port-a-potty on the other side of the park. We went to open the door and this bee flew right out at Savannah…it looked to me like it bounced right off her head, but I guess it landed long enough to drop it’s stinger on her forehead right above her right eyebrow. It must have been mad about something because it came right at her. She started screaming and crying…what a horrible thing. She has been stung when she was little, but she probably doesn’t remember it. I knew she wasn’t allergic though and I just tried to comfort her and help her relax. She didn’t go to the bathroom…too traumatic of an experience I think to relax enough to go…By the time we got back to the picnic table, she was excited to tell dad all about her bee sting. We spent about 10 minutes playing on the playground with the kids and then headed home so Sam could go work (deadlines tomorrow for a job). It was a crazy evening and on the way home I noticed it was 7:48 and I remember remarking to Sam that I was glad because it meant that I could get the kids ready for bed as soon as I got home. I am exhausted and ready for this week to be over.

journaling class

Yesterday, I finally got to attend another of my journaling classes. I have not been able to go to one since June 19th due to vacations, holidays and such. Our class met at one of our class member’s home where we visited her paper making studio. We experimented with making paper…embossing, adding glitter and dried flowers. It was so fun! Here are some of the papers that I made. I didn’t get a chance to sketch, unfortunately. After I got home…which was later than usual, I packed up the kids and we drove down the street to Cyndi’s to take back her ladder and borrow a bucket and some sponges to wash the car later. On the way I stopped at a garage sale and they had a whole box of glasses…just like the ones we have that we got from Urban Outfitters several years ago…Plus she had smaller tumblers in the same style and I got six more large glasses and 7 tumblers for $1.00. I was very excited. After eating yogurt and icecream popscicles at Cyndis, we headed over to Lowe’s where I hoped to find a double shepherd’s hook plant hanger and some hanging flower baskets…got the hanger…no more flowers there…I’ll have to go to Walmart later today. I also bought 10 bags of mulch and some new sand for the sand box. It’s supposed to be really nice today, so I hope to get time to lay down the mulch and refill the sandbox later this afternoon. I didn’t have time yesterday, because after we got back from Lowe’s I spent the rest of the evening cleaning out the van…seriously, it took like an hour and a half just to empty it out and vacuum it! I didn’t even get any of the cleaning done at all. When I got that done, I gave the kids baths and put them to bed. Cyndi came over later and Sam finally came home so we could sit around drinking our grape Crushes and discuss our latest business venture…more on that later.

The Language of Maximus

I have been writing down Max’s words over the past few days so I could do this page. He surprises us with new words just about everyday…in fact since I have been recording them, I have actually figured out the meaning to some words that he was saying, but I didn’t know what they meant. It cracks me up the way he talks and his little voice is so cute…especially when he says uh-huh (yes) or gets really excited about something. Check out Maxwords┬« in our store. Some of these words, like hob…you just have to wonder how he came about to use that word for drink…I mean I have my ideas…but I don’t really know. It’s very interesting…the mind of a two-year old.

Slice of Life experiment

Today I tried something different in my journal…I didn’t have time to finish it today…so excuse the incompleteness. I got this idea from another website that I often look at…another artist who publishes her journal/sketchbook online. This type of journaling is called “slices of life” in which you make small thumbnail sketches of what you are doing, where you are or what is happening around you…the idea is that by making several small drawings of things that surround you, you can capture the essence of the circumstance you are in…It is especially good for drawing something that is constantly changing, people moving, etc. So, I tried it…it’s much easier than trying to do a full page drawing. And I found that I wanted to journal a little explanation under each sketch to explain it. I would like to try this again…maybe with color.

Our Week at Family Camp – Somerset Beach

We arrived at our campsite in the afternoon on Saturday. Sam and Dad had been over to set up camp on Friday night. When we got there we moved things around to make it the way we wanted and then cooked some hotdogs for all of us and just hung out the rest of the night. After we got the boys to bed, we sat outside and started a fire in our new Chiminia. We brought it to camp, not knowing that fire rings were going to be provided…but we are looking forward to having fires in it at home on our patio as well. The Cole’s came over and we hung out and roasted marshmallows with Savannah.

Our campsite was non-electric and it was so hot during the first part of the week that air conditioning would have made our camping experience much more tolerable. I had a wonderful time (most days) with the kids. They loved it. Savannah thought it was the best. Sam spent a few afternoons off the camp grounds working and running errends…but Cary and the kids came over every day and had lunch with us and then we all went to the beach together everyday. Savannah had fun swimming with Abby and Grace (towards the end of the week). A family from our church camped near by, so Savannah also made new friends with their kids, Kierra and Sydney. Max confronted his fear of bugs…and now is very aware of their presence letting us know with a concerned “uh-oh, py, py!” (translation: py = fly) He has become very skilled in the stomping of any ant, beetle, silverfish, or spider that crosses his path or anyone elses.

Somerset had a great program for the kids. Savannah went to VBS every morning with Abby. She learned new songs, made some very cute crafts and even learned a bible verse – John 3:16. The boys spent all morning in Tot Lot, playing in a sandbox, swinging, riding the merry-go-round and going down the slide. Max’s favorite was the swing, definitely. I enjoyed having the opportunity to leave the kids and attend Pastor Hill’s excellent bible study on Colossians with Cary. Pastor Hill also preached in the evening service every night in the big tent tabernacle.

On Wednesday, when Grace came, she brought her stuff to make friendship bracelets…so we all ended up making them. Cary made one and I made one for me, Max and Savannah. I guess Grace has started a business making them and selling them for profit…she calls them “Gracelets”…she is quite the enterprising little six-year-old.

We had fun in the evenings after the services hanging out at different campsites, making s’mores and hobo pies with our friends. The change of pace from our routines at home was relaxing and enjoyable for me. Sam isn’t so all about camping. For me, family camp was the highlight of our summers growing up. We went to family camp at Covenant Hills in the East Michigan conference (Free Methodist Church). Being here brought back so many fond memories of camping with my family when I was little. I defintely want to go again next year…and I figure it has to be easier then, because the kids will all be 1 year older.


After the garage sale, we packed up the mini-burb and headed over to CiCi’s Pizza – the new pizza buffet in town. Good meal for a cheap price. I think it only cost like $14.00 for our whole family. You can’t beat that. When we finished our meal we headed over to Cascades with the high hopes of finding a primo spot to view the fireworks show. I think we must have driven around for at least an hour trying to find a good spot. It was so packed and it was really hard to fit the van in anywhere good. Finally we got up enough courage to jump a curb and drive down a sidewalk 25 feet from the cops who were directing traffic. We pulled up alongside 3 huge pine trees and drove into the best spot in Cascades. We got out, set up our chairs and laid out our blanket. Sam and Savannah headed over to the festivities to pick up some Shake-‘Em-Ups and some toasted almonds for us. We bought the kids glow necklaces which they had a blast with and hung out, playing with the kids until the fireworks started. The funniest thing about this whole adventure was Max, who spent most of the show covered up to his chin with a blanket. He kept saying uh-uh (NO) and shaking his hand and trying to blow out the fireworks because he didn’t like the noise. It was quite entertaining.

Garage Sale Day #2

Our first garage sale, two weeks ago, didn’t go so great. We had so much stuff left after the sale that it filled our entire garage! So we decided to run it again. Jason and Micki brought over the left overs from their sale last weekend and Nate and Cyndi brought over a few more things that they found around their place. So having the additional merch. helped…that and the fact that we put things out by the road. We had quite a few more customers…we were busy until around 6:00! Max and Karson were great today. They kept themselves entertained with the stuff at the garage sale. Savannah hung out with dad all day. They went to the kids workshop at Home Depot this morning. The only bad thing about today was that we only made $75.00 more. But that’s not really a bad thing because any money is better than none.

More flowers from our yard

I was looking around for something to draw in my journal today and noticed this arrangement of flowers I picked yesterday from our back yard. I have such an interesting variety of flowers that bloom in my yard, thanks to the previous owners of our house. So, wanting to draw them when they are fresh, I set out to capture the essence of this arrangement of snap dragons, some kind of daisy and some mini roses which were a delightful combination of pinks and oranges. I chose to capture the color with markers because I wanted bright and bold color…but I am sorry you cannot see the real thing because the different shades of pinks and oranges together were quite fascinating to me. I decided I like pink and orange together…and later was inspired to make a bracelet with these colors.