Monday, May 22, 2017

The Folk Artist







































I became a folk artist by default during the summer of my senior year in college. Student teaching would not commence unless I satisfied a single remaining academic credit hour. Sister Mary Lois O.P., esteemed professor and formidable ruling chair of the art department at the Catholic college I attended suggested an independent study agreement to fulfill my obligation. We met in early June, contracted, and went our separate ways. The path I took entertained a glorious summer of beaches, boyfriends, and bars - my last as a single, non-working girl.

On or about the first of August the party was over. I had two (2) weeks to produce a compendium of two (2) month's "Craft Work in America" research and two (2) representative studio originals. What followed was a desperate around-the-clock whirlwind of designing, fabric prep and constructing. I recruited help from mother and two sympathetic sisters, paying the latter to hook and stitch with me on an awkward little rug and a wall banner of many primitive patches. Grabbing sides, we'd feverishly attack, hoping to meet in the middle by the moment the clock struck midnight on Portfolio Day.

On that morning I slunk into Sister's office, laid the goodies on her desk and inwardly cowered in fear. "I don't think she's gonna buy this stuff!"

But I was wrong.

"Ohhh," Sister breathed, radiating an approving smile, "Folk Art!" I picked myself up off the floor, scrambled to recover and solemnly muttered, "Yes, Sister." (blessmefatherforIhavelied....a lot!) "I have indeed chosen Folk Art as my independent study topic."

Folk Art, they say, is characterized by its unschooled nature. It disregards the niceties of tedious things like formal/informal balance and spatial relationships, yet it still manages to please. Forgiving many things, it is, apparently, friendly to those in a hurry, to those in need of lessons in honesty, and to those suffering guilt wrought by a procrastinating nature. The genre also fondly welcomes those who simply enjoy immortalizing the creatures with whom they share their laps and the pillows on their beds. It is a means of expression that has, indeed, been forgiving and friendly to me. And today, many decades beyond our first awkward encounter, I enjoy being friendly right back to it!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Win 20 Books From Dover Publications!

Esteemed children's author, Emilie Buchwald, states, "Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." I'd expand that sentiment to include grandparents! My fondest "heaven on earth" moments find me rocking away, a cherub or two upon my lap, eyes glued to volumes shared. Fairy tale fiction, puzzles and poems, how-to, heroes, and history.....heeding Dr. Suess: "The more that you read, the more things you will know!"


I'm delighted to offer you a chance to win a collection of 20 books ($135 value) to share with the little ones in your life. Enter the Dover publication GRAND give away by clicking here before midnight on June 30, 2017. The winner will be notified by email on July 5, 2017 and also posted at GRAND magazine. 


Can't wait that long to see if you've won? Enjoy immediate savings of 25% on over 10,000 books when you visit Dover Publications today. Use code WJAG at checkout before September 30, 2017. I think you'll like the vast range of topics covering crafting, coloring, drawing, writing, reading, cooking, magic, and puzzles. A rich summer of "grandma-and-me" fun awaits within the pages of these books! (Reminds me of philosopher Voltaire: "Let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do harm to the world!")



Since our founding in 1941, we’ve built our reputation by offering remarkable products at amazing prices. Everyone in the Dover family wants you to be delighted with your purchase. When you shop at Dover, you may do so with complete confidence. We stand behind every product we sell with our unconditional guarantee.
For immediate access to exclusive Dover offers and new titles, be sure to subscribe to our email newsletters.  It’s free to join and you can cancel at any time. We never share your name or information with third parties.
If you are unhappy with a product that you purchase from Dover Publications for any reason, simply tell us within 30 days, and we will replace it or provide you with a full refund for the purchase price.
Early Literacy – Why It’s So Important

It is critical to help young children be ready for school by working with them to develop early literacy and learning skills.  Because strong reading skills form the basis for learning in all subjects, it is important to identify those who struggle with reading as early as possible. Children who have been read to at home come to school with important early literacy skills.  They are prepared to learn to read and write. Children who have not had many experiences listening to books read aloud or talking about books typically start school with poor early literacy skills.


This is a sponsored post by Dover publications.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Purr-fection!!







































The stroke of a brush, a flourish of glitter, or a generous dollop of glue are often able solvers of life's little day-to-day dilemmas. For those that defy solution, try a crafty grandkid's finger on the control button of a spray paint can! Problems? Now you see them, now you don't!

Six year old Brielle was excited to participate in the annual Art Show sponsored by her elementary school. Kids were invited to submit an original piece - their own work - for judging by family, friends, and other students. Bree's idea was to create a cardboard sculpture of her beloved kitty, Hudson. We exchanged a knowing wink; there'd be spray paint involved, and she's had plenty of practice at grandma's! (Moms and dads, generally, are not fans of turning kids loose at home, armed with cans of "Fire Engine Red" or "Knock 'Em Dead Purple!")

And, since this grandma has never met a cardboard box or wrapping paper tube she didn't deem worthy of saving, Bree was able to pick and chose feline body parts from an ample basement stash. She liked a pair of giant wiggle eyes and a pink foam heart, too. From there, it was back home, to the kitchen table, to get busy!

Pointy ears, cardboard legs, cotton ball paws, and a generous sweep of glitter had Hudson's mirror image glowing with glossy glamour atop a generously applied orange coat. With a swish of his pipe cleaner-pom pom tail, he was ready to go!

Patiently waiting in line to register, this pair purred with anticipation!























Hudson had an assigned number and a place on the judging tables along with 158 other entries! Here he is, standing proudly on his cotton ball paws in the K-2nd grade division!




















Art patrons milled about the crowded gym, admiring, commenting, voting....moms, dads, siblings - and grandparents. Lots of grandparents! - some "attending" from miles away, viewing the show via FaceTime, others taken directly by hand, proudly steered to wrinkly-cornered paintings, wobbly-stacked sculptures...."Here it is, grandma! You can vote for me!" We exchanged fond, indulgent smiles, those other grandmas and I. It's secret "Grandparent Code," you know - our own are always cutest, always best, but we graciously celebrate one another too, fellow travelers on the same road, savoring the status we've earned along the way.

And no, Hudson didn't return home adorned in best-of-show splendor. Some days, there are more ways to win than just the obvious ones..... 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chicks on a Bonnet!







































If you're a grandma, you likely recall the hat wearing era of the 1950s. To venture forth those years without one plopped atop the head was a fashion crime akin to leaving home bereft of shoes! Netted, jeweled, satin, velvet, pinned, and feathered - both mother and grandmother had hats galore, and I ached to reach the age where I could sport my own.

















There was, however, an annual hat wearer's holiday inclusive of the youngest among us, and that, of course, was Easter. Arriving brimmed and be-ribboned for early morning Mass, my sisters and I primly perched upon our pews, peeking furtive glances at the finery amidst us. Oh, the records set those days in sins of pride and envy inside that holy place!

But I like hats, I will not lie, and hate to see them ousted!

Want to make a really, really cute one?

My fanciful salute to vintage years is a thrifty one as well. Basic hats hail from Dollar Tree! To those you'll add:

glittery eggs
pastel feathers*
paper basket filler* (1.5 oz. decorates 4)
eyelet or lace trim (hat diameter x 3.14")
pastel ribbon (3" wired preferred)
sparkly tulle roll (6" wide)
a flock of fuzzy chicks
hot glue gun

*also from Dollar Tree



1. Flip hat upside down and glue eyelet or lace trim all around edge of circumference. Flip it back and hot glue basket filler all around base of dome as shown, far right.











2. Tie ribbon into a generous bow. Make it a double by layering an equal length of tulle beneath. Glue the bow to hat as shown.










3. Cluster eggs in three equally spaced areas. Glue them down, adding feathers and chicks.













When my little ladies arrive for Easter dinner, I'll greet them with a hat, a cuddly stuffed bunny, and an escort to the kids' table....here a chick, there a chick, everywhere a cute lil chick a-chirpin'!
This original design, like all blog content, is intended for personal use only. Copyright 2017. 
All rights reserved. Thank you! 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Wee Woven Baskets







































Bunnies aren't the only cute things bopping about here during the Easter season! It's traditional for kids to gather at grandma's for a holiday workshop preceding the big day. We make party favors and gifts for mommy and daddy. I find that well appreciated because those basket-fillers-in-chief are often overlooked in the annual scramble to make the E.B. look good!

My previous post featured our fuzzy yarn bunnies. After dinner on Easter Sunday, the kids will step up and teach mom and dad how to make their own palm size pets. Once those are complete, the teaching team will hand out these colorful "woven" paper baskets. Plenty of room inside for candy and a newly crafted critter!

Use brightly colored craft paper and paper punched accents to make these 8" baskets (4" without handle). Besides that, you'll need only a ruler, pencil, scissors, and glue. 














To make each basket:

1. Measure and cut paper strips:

1 - 11.5" x 3/4" (handle)
1 - 11.5" x 1" (horizontal strip)
5 - 8.5" x 1" (woven strips)
















2. Lay the horizontal strip face down and glue all 5 woven strips to it, side by side, also face down. When you flip it right side up, it will look like the sample in blue.

3. Lay the piece reverse side up, as shown in purple, and match the end of strip #1 to horizontal strip as shown. Glue it down.







4. Continue matching and gluing - second strip will line up next to first glued one. This is how it will look in progress.










5. Basket forms as strips continue to be glued in place. Attach all 5, then glue horizontal strip ends together to complete. Glue handle in place.










6. Decorate baskets with paper punched shapes.

Please note that baskets won't stand alone unless you crease strips at bottom.

Experiment with various lengths and widths to make baskets of different sizes. I'm going to try making teeny tiny ones for the fairy party in the woods we'll be enjoying during Grandma Camp week!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Bunny Business!







































Around here, the business of bunny building is a serious one. We need those little critters to decorate our kids' table for Easter Sunday dinner. We also need an appealing "make it and take it" to teach to mommies and daddies that day - one that will yield an even bigger bunch of bunnies - and miles of fond smiles in the years ahead each time they reemerge from springtime storage bins!

Hand wound yarn bunny making isn't new. I fended off my own pet cats ages ago while mother taught me how to wind and snip and glue. The floppy, fuzzy, felt-eared, button-eyed results delighted me in those early years, well before aisles of wiggle eyed choices and wee ribbon spools popped up a hop away from the crafty kids of today, making this project easier and cuter than ever!

I'm excited to sponsor an advance "grandkids only" workshop to practice our crafting and sharing skills. The parents we'll instruct a week or so later won't have to worry about a thing, especially counting to "100 wraps" by themselves - we've got one little lady who just perfected that art and will be "hoppy" to take the lead! All that'll be left for grandma to do is ready the supplies and be on hand to coach from the sidelines when the business of bunny building opens its doors!

Here's my palm-sized version of easy-to-make, easy-to-teach fun!




For each 4" x 4" bunny, you'll need:
  • Yarn, white or pastel. Lily Sugar 'n Cream preferred
  • Felt scraps, white and pink for ears
  • Pom pom, pink, 1/2" (1) for nose
  • Pom poms, white, 1" (3) for tail and front paws
  • Wiggle eyes, 15 mm (2) 
  • Ribbon, pastel, 3.75" wide x 8" long
  • Foam board or cardboard:           
    • 2.5" x 10" (1) for body template            
    • 1.5" x 8" (1) for head template
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Craft glue or hot glue gun                                           
1. Mark a 1.5" area near top of head template as shown. Wrap yarn around board 100 times, keeping it all between those lines.
2. Cut a 6" length of yarn, slip wrapped yarn off template, and pinch tightly at center. Tie yarn tightly at center to hold. (see photo)
3. Cut all loops open, yielding a 1.5" pom pom. Fluff it up and trim until round. 
4. Glue eyes and nose to center front for face.
5. Cut two 1" x 2" pieces of white felt for ears. Cut two 1/2" x 1.75" pieces of pink felt. Trim the white pieces so they are rounded at top and slightly taper towards bottom. Trim the pink pieces the same way. 
6. Place pink pieces, centered, on top of white and glue together.
7. Separate yarn at top of head and glue ears inside.
8. Mark a 2.5" area near top of body template as shown. Wrap yarn around board 100 times, keeping it all between those lines.



9. Repeat steps 2 and 3, yielding a 2.5" pom pom
for body.
10. Glue head to body.
11. Glue a 1" white pom pom to lower center back for tail. Glue two 1" white pom poms side by side below head for front paws.
12. Tie ribbon into a bow and glue to side of head.

  • Bunnies are not toys for kids under 3 due to small parts. 
  • This is not a sponsored post. I personally like the texture of this yarn but you can use any brand you prefer, of course! 


This original design, like all blog content, is intended for personal use only. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Thank you!            

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Picture This!




























Picture this: 

You. Sending an email. Typing an address. 

This one, for example:

xox@myphotoandgo.com

Now, paste in a picture. Any picture. One from your phone. Or desktop. A favorite. Or not. Now send. Now wait. One minute. Two. Maybe three. Four or five at most.......

and then it happens.....


OMG, you gotta see this! 

Go ahead! Try it! I'll wait!.....

So, what do you think?


Me? I was amazed! Pictures, you see, are all I really want as gifts. Even those I give myself. My "grandma closets" bulge with tablecloths and Tupperware and trinkets. But hand me photos of those I love and you envelop me with the best of all I'll ever need.













But wait! I want convenience, too. "One stop shopping," if you will. Show me my pictures before I buy, prettied up in frames. A choice of frames. And sizes. All while here, at home. Not standing in line with a clutter of coupons while my ice cream melts in the car. Let me wander about here, in fuzzy slippers, measuring, deciding.....glass of wine in hand, a cat or two upon my lap..... 

And when I click to buy, I want my goodies fast! Hmmm. How about 72 hours fast? Can you do that? Really? YOU CAN?





And they did!

Ava is part two of our twin sissy duet. I chose "Magneto FlipFrames" for the girls. Heavyweight card mounted photos will easily "flip" to new shots "if" grandma ever finds cuter faces!












When daddy opens this one on Father's Day, he'll have not only a "Moderna Metal" portrait of himself and Brielle, but a lasting memory of the evening he escorted his little princess to the Father-Daughter Valentine dance! 













Since he'll be adding a fifth family member by the time Father's Day rolls around, we'll give this daddy his "Aurora Glass" portrait early. Perfect for his desk at work - in celebration of his new promotion!











There are other frame styles, too! Ones you'll enjoy mixing and matching with photos currently held hostage within the gloomy confines of your phone! I liked seeing my own fly free for the first time. You will too!


This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated with sample products and a sales commission for promoting my honest opinion of photoandgo®express