Monday, July 30, 2012

Under Construction: Two Quilts and Two More Babies!

I don't think it happens very often, but it is happening to us. In September we will have a second set of grand-baby twins, little sisters to the twin boys I already love so very much! Whenever I share this news, nice people cannot resist asking me if twins "run" in our family. All I can say in response is that, well NOW they do! And we feel very, very blessed.

While mommy and daddy are busy figuring out the logistics of adding a pair of new cribs to the house, grandma has been occupied too - with nothing but fun! We need gifts to bring to each baby right after they are that big brothers are part of making for their little sisters. And something too, that cousin Brielle can give. The significance of newborn gifts from siblings and cousins is their heirloom status; items that will be carefully put away and rediscovered years later, marveled at, and enjoyed once again when all parties have become adults.

I have decided upon pairs of crib quilts and pillows. What makes them special though, is that the big brothers and cousin Bree have had a "hand" in their making! I used fabric paint to press the boys' palms to fabric squares sewn into the patched scrap quilt design. Each brother also had a few more squares to draw on with fabric markers. Bree's hand printed squares will be made into compatible pillows.

I like to think of this project as a way to not only record present day hand size and drawing skill, but to communicate to our new baby girls that their big brothers and older cousin will always be there to give them a helping hand in life. Several other generations participate by being represented too. Some of the scraps I used were left over from things I made for mommy when she was a baby. And I quilted with thread that was purchased by my own mother years ago but never used, probably because she was too busy raising me and my two sisters. So our quilts will keep the new little sisters covered warmly with love - that of their brothers, their sweet little cousin, a beautiful mother, hovering grandma and the heavenly smile of their great grandmother. God bless you, baby grand-sisters! We cannot wait to see your sweet little faces!

I am thinking about sewing cute little buttons to the middle of gathered yoyos and stitching them randomly to the centers of the largest squares.

Since the rest of the family consists of cat lovers, we assume the babies will feel likewise!

Have you seen these cute baby buttons at Michael's and Hobby Lobby? The assorted set of seven is also available in blue.

                           Nick says these are cats. I clearly see the eyes and the claws. So cute!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Art of Being Adorable

Well GOOD MORNING! It's 10 AM and I see you've arrived on time for our first annual Clothesline Art Show, Sale and Auction! And what a fine day it is for this event! Last week's rain has cleared away and the oppressive heat went right along with it. God must smile upon art shows for little kids! Okay! You look anxious to get started. Why not go right ahead and park your car wherever it's convenient and then join me over at the ticket booth. I'll be here every step of the way to make sure you have the best experience possible without missing a single thing!

I see you brought your purse. Good. You are going to need it! We are featuring three spunky little artists today who hope to fill their wallets to bulging with sales from things they've worked hard to produce over the past three months. You don't really think they just sit in front of Sesame Street like a trio of potted plants on the days grandma babysits do you? Oh my, no! We have entrepreneurial things to do and you are going to find that out as soon as you have your tickets in hand. "Tickets?" you ask? Well, yes! Tickets. Plural. Today we are charging not only for admission and programs, but also to park, rent a shopping basket and enjoy a personal guided tour of the kids' pumpkin patch. You'll want to take advantage of all these offers! And, for your convenience, extra large TIP JARS are everywhere
 Brielle, one of today's talented artists, is the first to arrive. She brought mommy and daddy with her.

Almost ready? We're waiting to make sure all tickets are sold before we enter the first gallery. While we watch daddies wrangle over prices with our astute little gatekeepers, allow me to point a few things out. Our artists are wearing personalized visors so you can easily identify them. You will pay them directly after you've made your choices from among the extensive collection you'll see ahead of you. The main gallery includes ten matted works from each artist in a range of media. Are most of them abstract? Well, yes! Yes, they all are! At least this year. But that's actually a good thing! Nonrepresentational work fits nicely into anyone's decor and after today you won't have a single square inch of empty space on your walls! Trust me!

Okay, grab your purse! Looks like it's your turn! Here we go! The boys are big on collecting tickets and opening the gate one at a time so customers feel appreciated. That's right, hand Sae your ticket and step right in! Wow! Look at what's strung along the fence! A veritable rainbow of color and a selection beyond your wildest imagination! Note that each piece has a tag attached to it. Those tags state the title of the work, the media, date of production and most importantly, name of the artist. Many also show a mini-photo of the artist in action, creating the very piece you'll want to add to your collection. I call them "certificates of authenticity." Don't want anyone thinking that grandma crafted everything herself while the kiddoes took naps do we? Go ahead. Fill your basket. I'll wait right here until it's time to move ahead to the next gallery!

What? You're hungry? Well good! Our "Starving Artist Buffet" is modeled after the gallery-hopping rich and famous who are much more likely to spend when introduced to delicate little plates of appetizers and a slender flute. Those amenities make them look like they know their way around the world of fine art. Please help yourself! We offer crab stuffed tomatoes, gourmet deviled eggs and  mini bagels stuffed with dill, cream cheese and lox. And when you're done nibbling, please come back to top it all off with an artist palette cookie. But be mindful of the "starving artist" image! We are here today to spend money, not to eat!

Let's move on to the outdoor sculpture gallery now. Today we feature two areas....clay work, seen above, and an exciting visual undersea wonderland of painted and glittered paper fish that hangs from beneath the deck umbrella. The boys made the sharks. Aren't they great? Ferocious! Grandma cut double shapes from large white paper and the kids painted them, applied glitter (liberally, very liberally!) and then added an eye (or two, or three or four...or even more!). Then grandma whisked the pieces away to staple the shapes together, stuff them plump with tissue paper and complete with streamer accents. You'll want one of those for sure! And everyone has just the right spot for a tropical fish. Brielle made pretty pink and yellow ones. Better reel in one of those too!
Feel like spending even more money? Yes! You are truly the customer of our dreams! Let's make a stop at the gift shop! Not only lots and lots to choose from, but an eager sales staff awaits helping you. Remember our hand print potholders? Here's how we made those. Check out the pencils! Here's how those came to life! Paper chains? Got em! And how about a nice notepad with picture of the artist to go with your pencil? Those have hand painted and glittered covers and are limited in edition. You won't find them anywhere else! Better grab a few! And those red-ribboned cupcake boxes, like the one Nick is offering you? Selling fast! They hold peanut butter cookies - ones freshly baked yesterday when all three kids spent the day with grandma getting ready for our event. That's when we made and bagged the popcorn, too!

Yes, I know these kids are child prodigies, but it was actually grandma who made the ticket and gift shop booths. The perky little birds perched atop the roof have only one message: Buy lots of gifts and don't be "cheep" about it!

Bagging and baking. Here's picture proof that these busy little bees popped corn, bagged it up, and then made sheets of peanut butter cookies to sell. Their inventory of art work has been piling up for months, but the food we sell has to be fresh! Brielle loves to bake. She patiently fork-pressed every one of the cookies on her sheet!

Wow! Here's one of many overflowing shopping baskets! This one belongs to Nana, Bree's indulgent paternal grandmother. She snapped up drawings and paintings matted in pink, as well as the potholder that reads "Bree + Nana  = (heart button!)"                                                    
Today's show has been a roaring success. But wait! We're not done yet.........

Our event posters are truly limited, one-of-a-kind editions and everybody wants one. The only fair way to sell them is by live auction. And, if you are fortunate enough to be the winning bidder, we have a once-in-a-lifetime offer for you! The artist will autograph your poster for only five dollars extra! Let the feeding frenzy begin!

Okay, so a few things happened here today. Every single art patron had already spent every single penny they had before the auction began. That left grandma as the only solvent bidder in an audience that gleefully drove up the prices and then backed off to leave me as the winner of them all. Today the posters hang in the kids' bedrooms because I donated them all back, something I suspect was anticipated all along! I guess grandma isn't the only "con artist" in the family!

And so, our first annual Clothesline Art Show, Sale and (unconventional!) Auction enters the family history book in the chapter on learning success stories...for several reasons. Certainly one of them is comprehension of the value of money. Daddy does a good job teaching the twins how to sort and count it before dividing equally and stuffing it all inside wallets to use later for saving, shopping, and donating in appropriate percentages.
Another reason is the satisfactory experience of teamworking alongside siblings and cousins toward a well organized goal. There's practice, too, in the art of compromise along that journey. But most importantly, I heed the advice of educators who proclaim that children succeed best when significant adults show an active interest in what they accomplish academically. I think we managed a nice step in that direction today. Thank you for joining us!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Things That Bug Me!

1. It bugs me when my two year old granddaughter goes off to spend Fourth of July week at the lake and she doesn't have a pair of cute little yellow flip-flops with big ladybug bows and matching buttons to wear on the beach! So I made her a pair.......

1 pair of kid size flip-flops
1.25 yard ladybug print grosgrain ribbon, 1.5" wide
1.25 yard red/white dot grosgrain ribbon, 1/2" wide
2 ladybug buttons*
needle, thread, scissors
*Omit buttons if they might be a choking hazard.

Fold yellow ribbon into 2 bows with 2 loops, each 2.5". Secure at center with thread. Fold red ribbon into 2 bows with 4 loops, 1.5" each. Secure.

Stack red bows on top of yellow. Secure. Sew to shoes. Top with buttons. Trim ribbon ends.

2. It bugs me when my grandkids are dropped off to spend the day and I don't have cute healthy lunches topped off with finger jello caterpillars made in ice cube silicone molds to feed them! So I created them...

These caterpillars look very hungry don't they? Someone should write a book about that!
3. It bugs me that our upcoming Family Clothesline Fine Art Show, Sale, and Auction has not a single "bug-related" item in stock to sell! So I teamed up with Nick to make one.......

This talented little guy painted basic bug shapes in watercolor. Then he cut orange wings and yellow stripes from paper. Grandma added a pair of "buggy" eyes, glued everything on, and matted it. Now we have a cute bee portrait to sell at our show!!

                                      You'll have to "bee" at our Art Show if you'd like to buy this piece from Nick!