Friday, September 26, 2014

"Art On The Line"

We have a family clothesline art show and sale at least once each year. For several reasons. First is the art educator's obvious position. Every person has something to say, and for many, a drawing, painting or sculpture is the way it is said best. Public recognition and appreciation for one's efforts affirms those expressions, born in abundance at grandma's house where a bounty of art supplies is always available. Here, grandchildren enjoy open invitation to finger paint for the first time at age one or culminate six years of practiced experience in a carefully detailed mixed media masterpiece. These works - all of them - are carefully signed, dated and stored away for the next show. And yes. I am aware of the accusation by some that these days "little Johnny" is excessively praised for the faintest academic effort. I think they're crazy. Excessive? Mind your own business! Over here, grandma and grandpa swoon over every little squiggle and finger painted wiggle and pay big sticker prices for them too. We're grandparents. And that's our job. (DUH!)

Family art shows introduce entrepreneurship too. When little artists observe family members gobbling up their contributions, they recognize that productivity has value. They see, too, that a successful event requires careful planning and cooperative preparation.

At ages four and six, my oldest grandchildren are not too young to offer suggestions on invitations, traffic flow and set up. They show up early to fill popcorn bags and sort and clip artwork for display.

It's not a good idea to sell a food product unless you've tasted it yourself. We handle this task with competent vigor!

When parents, aunties, uncles and grandparents arrive, kids serve as gracious hosts, selling refreshments and seeing to the needs of their patrons with an enthusiasm that is an art form in itself! At show's conclusion, their kid sized wallets bulge with cash to count and save for spending and donating in appropriate percentages. That's important lifelong learning too!

Kaylee, at age one, does not take well to being left out. That's age discrimination! She does a brisk business renting shopping baskets and finding buyers for her original finger paintings.

Scrapbook paper makes excellent framing for a child's artwork. Use purchased mat board frames as templates or cut custom sizes using a quilter's rotary wheel and cutting board. Attach small photos of artists in action too, for a special touch.

Within moments of opening, our clothesline is picked clean, baskets brim with fine art in a wide range of media, and patrons and artists alike report nothing but satisfaction!

And Angeline? Have you any comment on your first family art show experience?

"Sure, grandma! I came. I shopped. I bagged my own purchase!"

And, like the rest of the event, darn if it didn't end up being a perfect fit!

See how much we've grown! Here's where you'll find the story of our very first Clothesline Art Show, Sale and Auction in 2012.

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Fairy Lovely Affair


If this impish little sprite were your granddaughter, would you agree to team with mommy to give her the fourth birthday party of her dreams?

Well, I would.....

And did!

Not a thing painted pink and pretty, flowery or fluffy nor lavender and lovely was excluded from careful consideration for this event. Fairy princesses thrive in such environments, you know, which made it necessary to recreate the daintiness they are accustomed to in Brielle's back yard a few weeks ago.

In progress - table for five!

Guests were four little friends, classmates from pre-school, joining Bree at noon on a sultry summer's day to nibble a ladylike luncheon beneath the shelter of a filmy, fairy-colored canopy.

As charming as the table was, it didn't truly blossom until each surrounding chair welcomed its own pretty little pixie!

Wispy wings adorned each one of them. These Dollar Tree treasures are simply accented with silk petals and a flourish of sparkling tulle ribbon.

Headpieces are crowns of florist wire, wrapped with additional flowers and bows of tulle.

From top to bottom tier, there were petite paper cups brimming with veggie slices and tangy, tasty dip, freshly frosted rosebud cupcakes, cheese topped crackers and butterfly shaped sandwiches to graze upon.

Each place setting offered a fairy wand of green grapes topped with a melon slice star. There was pink lemonade to sip too, while plates were polished to perfection!

And then.......!

Brielle's Fairy Grandmother waved her magic wand and proclaimed an announcement! It seems that wee tiny fairies had been spotted frolicking in the garden that very morning! They're shy and playful, though, and might coyly disguise themselves upon approach.

Would five little girls love to stroll among the foliage to look for them?

They would!

I won't keep you guessing. Fairy magic works! Our little ladies carefully inspected every one of a dozen blossoms, discovering fairies in number enough for each to pluck and take home!

We planted fairy gardens too. Bree's mommy offered an appealing array of supplies and invited the girls to choose from among them.

There were fairy dolls destined to live in their own little wonderland, glow-in-the-dark "moon stones" to light a meandering path through it, bright blue gravel for defining a refreshing stream of "water" and personalized trowels for each young gardener.

Little girls just have an instinct for designing to perfection. They chose handfuls of moss, mini "Hens and Chicks," flowering ground covers and bright red begonias for landscaping. Their mommies, who were invited to stay, guided their daughters in the process.

Smiles all around! heartfelt appreciation for an afternoon of great weather, fanciful food and fun, good friends, thoughtful birthday presents and a loving, creative mommy who knows that sometimes a newly four-year-old's wishes just need to come true - exactly in the way she dreams them!

If you can't get enough of the enchanted world that fairies live in, you'll enjoy this blog post - one of my all time favorites on any site. It's written by a grandmother who has become a good friend of mine. Judy is an avid grower - a Master Gardener, in fact - who photographed many charming entries at the 2012 Portsmouth New Hampshire Fairy House Tour. Wouldn't it be fun to find inspiration there and engage your grandchildren in planning and building a fairy house of their own? For us, over here, that's next!

Update 9-22-14: Judy has paid Bree the compliment of designing and entering a charming fairy house in her name at last weekend's 2014 Fairy House Tour. This post on her New England Garden and Thread blog documents it all! Love it!!!!