Thursday, July 30, 2009

frEE fORm ConCrEte FuN

We recently shot a kids garden episode for b. organic and I threw in a few artful additions at the end because my daughter LOVES to fill her garden space with 'schtuff'....lots and lots of 'schtuff'.......It's not always just about the plants, you know! So, I wanted to quickly share the outdoor fun that can be had by all using a $3 bag of cement mix. Kids and grown-ups alike have a ball playing with the mix and forming things up. It's like the industrial version of play-doh and makes for some very durable, interesting garden art. Grab a bag of cement mix (I like to use the inexpensive 'sand mix' for this project)...available at any home improvement store. Use a shallow tub to mix in. (if kids are mixing, have them wear a dust mask) Add enough water to create a 'cookie dough' type consistency. Can always add more water or mix to get it how you need it. Have a spray bottle filled with water handy, too. Be sure the kids wear rubber gloves because the mix REALLY dries out the skin. Work on plastic cutting boards. (or, cover a table with a vinyl tablecloth) I spray the surface lightly with nonstick cooking spray to insure easy removal once cured. You don't want to work on wood or newspaper because it absorbs the moisture and if you leave your pieces there to cure, the paper will be stuck to the bottom and sometimes parts of your piece will adhere to the wood.

Dig in and grab a handful of mix and start forming. You can form up hearts (madeline's favorite), silly faces, and other random shapes. Embed objects, draw designs or lettering. Once cured (24-48 hours) you can paint with artist acrylics and spray with a sealer for greater protection against the weather, if desired. They can then work their way up to larger scale, reinforced sculptures and things. The cement mix gives you a MUCH longer working time than the typical stepping stone kits available for kids that are typically made out of a plaster of paris material and it's much more economical. FUN, FUN, FUN! Grab yourself a bag and enjoy!

Cheers to the natural goodness that stems from creative expression!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

oUt Of BoUnDS

Unconventional. Quirky. Imperfect. Descriptors I love. They're carefree, exciting, and intriguing. Exactly how I like things. Even in my garden. I have quite a few perennials that have taken it upon themselves to take root in unplanned, unexpected places throughout the yard and garden. At first, I was of course just going to transplant them to places where I could really use another plant, but it's kind of fun to just let things play out once in a while. Don't we all have enough going on in our lives that we're exhaustively trying to 'control'? Well, you know what, I LOVE random happenings and it's been fun seeing how the garden naturally takes shape. I've even left a few 'weeds' (natives):) I like the looks of stay put here and there to see how they evolve. The bees and butterflies are loving them, so they obviously have a fruitful purpose. As long as there aren't any negatives happening (choking out other plants, attracting the undesirables, etc).... I'm going to take my cue from nature and let it DIRECT ME, for a while.
What do you do when things go out of bounds...pull it, transplant it, or let it be?!

Cheers to nature and the spectacular wonder it brings!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

tAkiNg It, rEaDiNg iT, MaKiNg it.....On tHe rOaD

I will never live long enough to read, learn, and do EVERYTHING I want to know about and experience. That anxiety may be why I have an incredibly hard time just sitting and doing nothing for fear of wasting a precious moment of opportunity. Even when sitting, something has to be going on....reading, writing, drawing, creating.... That being said, you can imagine I am about the worst passenger on a roadtrip in regards to contributing any sort of lengthy chatter...unless of course, I'M driving. I actually look forward to being locked in the passenger seat for a few hours knowing that I get that window of time to read, write, draw, create without any chance of getting pulled away to do something else. The setup in your car can serve as quite the workbench, my friends! The inverter allows me to do a little woodburning or soldering when I want...(our fourth of july trip back to the cabin was spent burnin' some new swing seats the kids designed and then painted) also smell a little bit (ok, a lot) like you've been sitting around a campfire for several days...but our destination is usually the cabin, so it's fitting. (I'm sure that will raise a few safety concerns with some re: fumes, hot tools in an enclosed vehicle, etc...but I'm all about personal you know roll down the windows, if needed, lead free solder, don't have an accident, etc, etc, etc....)
The cup holders can store a nice pint size jar of rinse water, and other paint supplies. It's honestly like getting a little creative retreat that we get so few of. The summer months are great because it stays light longer, so no need to pull out the booklight -- that makes things a bit trickier when doing anything other than reading or writing.
My daughter now has to pack quite a few things to make creative use of the roadtrips because little mini-me' in the backseat has as much going on in the back as I do up can only imagine the gear we load up when just heading out for a few hours of drivetime....poor Jon...good thing he can go with the flow sportin' a smile (& a guaranteed shake of the head)...and has an appreciation for what we love to do!

Anyone else making good use of their road time...creatively speaking? :):) Do Share!

Cheers to summertime travels!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

sO ApParEnTLy mIcHeLE iS a BuSY LadY

Zach here, interrupting my wild and creative editing thoughts to get in touch with the masses. I actually just noticed that Michele hadn't posted on here in a few weeks, didn't want anyone fretting over the situation, so I just popped in to get you updated! We have been shooting like crazy!!! Don't believe me? I'll upload a picture of my sunburn just to prove it! (well, I don't have a pic with me, so just go ahead and take my word for it.) Anyway, of course that isn't all we've been up to. As we speak, Michele is at IPTV doing a demonstration for their K-12 Connections program. She knows the importance of getting the creative mind started at an early age and she loves kids, too, if you couldn't tell. I'm sure she will be blogging as soon as she has time and telling you all about it! Well, not that I don't love babbling my day away on Michele's behalf, but I best get back to "real" work. (not that we really consider many of our duties around as "WORK") Stay Classy World!

And of course we can't forget our Cheers from Michele so let's give it up for my neck of the woods

Cheers to St. Louis Baseball Fans and the 2009 All-Star game at Busch Stadium

Zach Out!