Friday, March 30, 2012

Easter Eggs

I have to stop and make myself get ready for Holidays.  It is so easy to get over whelmed by all the business.  Last week was Dragon's 10th birthday and soccer is in full swing, and I got to go away and ski, and Tae Kwon Do and ballet and... I know all you other mommies can relate.

These eggs are great because they are "slow movement" style - you know "slow food" and all that?  Slow down, take a breath, enjoy the process...

I was introduced to dyeing Easter eggs with onion skins by a wonderful preschool teacher, Mrs. Axtell.  She has since retired but she was the queen of old school, do it right, hands on creativity.  And she taught it to three years olds, and she did it with joy.

So here you are,
you need:
onion skins,
old panty hose,
boiled eggs,
an assortment of leaves, weeds, and flowers (Mrs. Axtell usually brought in a magnificent collections of pressed leaves and flowers but we pick ours fresh and we do not get the same results, but we have fun)
vinegar and water

I actually wrote about this in April of 2009 and the pictures are pretty good, check here
and I wrote a brief piece for Yahoo Voices (when it was Associated Content) with full directions here

Onion Skin Egg Dye, what you need

assorted ingredients gathered


 MLyon's favorite egg, you may be able to see the clover leaf?

 onion skin dyed eggs, eggs dyed with onion skin method,

and here is a small collection of eggs. The grey one was an experiment. I found some cranberries probably from Christmas, in the back of the fridge, so we tried cranberry eggs and got the grey. Not what we were hoping for, but I do enjoy experimenting! We are decorating in small batches this year as we are fitting it all in around the many activities, so I have another batch on the stove waiting to come out.

Mrs. Axtell says if you don't crack them and do not store them in air tight containers then they can last for years.  Unfortunately I have never been successful in keeping small hands form holding them and playing with them and so I do not have first hand experience with long lasting eggs ;)

Mrs. Axtell's Directions:
Start with room temperature eggs, cover in water and bring to a gentle simmer. Be sure to choose the smoothest white eggs you can find and hardboil them for ease of handling (and to weed out any with hairline cracks).
Look for small wildflowers (primroses, violets, violas, grass flowers, vetch) ferns, ivy, myrtle - nothing too thick or fleshy - and float in water or layer between damp paper towels.
Dampen the surface of an egg with water and place flowers face down in a pleasing pattern.
Carefully lay a cut square of nylon stocking over flowers or leaves and gather tightly at the back; secure with a twist tie.
Prepare a pot with several handfuls of yellow onion skins (clean out the bin at the grocery store), water to cover and ½ cup of vinegar.
Gently lower wrapped eggs into pot, making sure eggs are covered, and bring to a low boil. Simmer gently for 2 hours or more.
Remove from stove.
With a slotted spoon dunk eggs one at a time into a bowl of cool water. Untwist tie and using the stocking and water gently wipe off the flower to reveal its imprint. (Flowers will cook onto egg if not quickly removed!)
Oil eggs light with cooking oil when dry and cooled.

I am linking to the "Show off Your Stuff" Party:
and "Show and Share" at Southern Lovely

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Little Hawk's Cupcake

You know it was a long day when you can't finish your cupcake-
and yes, I know he's not going to be happy one day when he finds out I posted this online.  But come on, it is funny.  And 1/2 the fun is all his brothers and sisters in the background cracking up at him.  Sure, they hammed it up a little since I was recording and they knew it.  But just like he's going to be mad at me, so will they.  They sound almost as ridiculous as he looks!


Monday, March 12, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Centerpiece

So... on Southern Lovely there was a burlap wreath challenge going on. I wasn't going to go find burlap just now, it is more important to find the laundry room floor, but St. Patrick's Day is coming up and I thought my 7 year old might like to make something.  Now if you'll check over here, you'll see what looks like a scrap wreath against a red door on Ginger Snap Crafts (awesome name btw) . So while Bitsy was at her dance class this afternoon I went into Hancock Fabrics with Little Hawk and checked out the fat quarters. I also picked up a piece of foam.

  fat quarters, and foam

Later I cut the foam out into a circle and then cut up the fat quartes into strips. I demonstrated for the 7 year old how I had envisioned tying the knots to create a green scrap wreath. And then I got out of her way and let her do it.

  7 yr old tying fabric strips around a foam circle to make a wreath/center piece

When she was done we placed in on the table as a center piece. Easy Peasy and she is so proud of herself!

So now there is some kind of pinterest challenge going on over there at Southern Lovely and I am too tired to figure it out this minute but I'll get back to it tomorrow and link up...

Still Skiing

Tiger racing at Champs hosted by our home mountain: Wintergreen Resort Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug He pulled a 6th place finish. Not good enough to medal (1-5 in skiing) but good enough to be considered for Invitationals this coming weekend. This is his dad's favorite picture. My husband was in the "shack" working with the timing equipement or something and didn't see Tiger's start. But he heard him. They all heard him. Apparently he hit that gate with a war cry. Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug The weekend prior my daughter was skiing in Sugar NC for Champs (who knew NC had skiing? all this southern racing just surprises the heck out of me.) Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug Her technique is always so pretty. All these photos were taken by one of the dad's on our team, (and used with permission). He has a gallery via SmugMug and often takes pictures of everyone in the race. So if you are a SARA racer you might want to check them out. and I'm sharing my daugher's blue racing suit with Smiling Sally's Blue Monday

Monday Morning Coffee and

For a while there I was doing well with the whole Monday Morning Coffee and a book thing. I mean I love books and I love writing about them. And then somewhere in there we added the little hawk to our lives and things just got busy and then this year I thought I'd really try to focus on posts about "creating" because that is in essence who I am. I love to "make" and so the posts regarding the preschool furniture make-overs. But I've been picking up books again lately and so I'm going to give it a shot- but first a movie.
I'm not a huge movie buff. I never know what is just out and just new and I'm never first in line. And so it was no surprise that I stumbled across "Warrior" a few weeks ago without having ever heard of it. I was searching itunes for something else entirely. But the photo caught my attention. I like "guy" movies. I enjoy martial arts. I see the skill behind boxing and appreciate the level of conditioning it takes to withstand those punches to the abs, arms, and so on and so a movie about two fighters is right up my ally.
 But it isn't just a prize fighter movie. The characters are given some level of depth, some of it isn't quite explained, there is a lot of hinting going on, and the ending was completely unsatisfactory - completely unsatisfactory (yes, I DO need to say that twice) but I LOVE this movie. I am an immersion experience person, I "get into" a movie, book, musical, concert, whatever and I was into this movie. I felt the intensity, the desperation, I was pleading for them, I was sobbing, I was hugging my knees with tears running down my face. I need these kinds of movies because they allow me to let go of emotions otherwise buried or pushed aside. I can't always cry for me, but I can cry for this man on the screen. This movie is brutal. If you can't watch boxing you should't watch it. But it is an amazing movie and I think I'll need to watch it a few times.

Friday, March 9, 2012

little table, fingerprinted

The last project I did for the preschool auction was a small table.  I love kid's tables.  I think they symbolize a place where markers and water colors are sanctioned, on a surface that is will not be mourned if the artist were to ruined it.  And tea parties, lots and lots of tea parties.  But anyway.

A table with two chairs was donated.


I spent the most time painting on this piece. I had done a little bench a few years ago for a different fundraiser and that was when I first tried making little stick style people with thumbprint faces. I had liked how it turned out. Because of the size of this table I felt I had space to add a little scenery for the kids. So I put in the yellow school house on one side and the tree and playground on the other. The table itself was in good shape so I just sanded down the top but as I didn't give it a base paint coat I was painting directly on the wood. This meant a few layers of each color as the wood soaked up the paint. It also meant that when it came to writing in the names the ink bled a little bit, which I hadn't considered.

preschool table

My daughter is in this class so I also knew a little bit about kids and parent personalities. I didn't know them all, but I knew I could put a particular little boy peeking out from the tree and his mother would think it was cute. And I put my daughter and her best friend on the swings together. And I painted two cousins in the class playing soccer together and the ball had the team colors for Greece because I know that is who their dads cheer for in the World Cup :)

preschool table tree

This is the painting finished off. When their faces aren't on, the black shoes seem too dark but once you add the names in black ink and the eyes in black it sort of balances out.

preschool table yellow school, little people are finished, thumb prints make faces and I add eyes & a mouth

and then I used a spray can varnish. I was pleased with how that sprayed on, in the past I've tried a brush and for some reason I cannot get it even! This little table was bought at the fundraiser by one of the class moms who then gave it to the class. So now it is in their room and they use it as an art table. I love that!
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Monday, March 5, 2012

preschool auction, more upcycling

Another preschool auction project:
This little school days styled desk was a donation and proved to be my most challenging project.

desk as it was given to me

someone had attempted to take off the finish on the sides, so I can't leave them as is
I sanded, I tried to strip it, I applied "kills" over it... nothing was working.  And then my husband was in the basement working on skis and noticed my frustration and handed me the "Ridgid" sander. I had the wood ready for painting in less than an hour.  Again I tried spray paint.  Total mess... drippy and drippy and more drippy.  But by now I was running out of time.  So eventually I just called "good enough" and finished up with the white paint.

my new best friend

So eventually I just called "good enough" and finished up with the white paint.  Using craft acrylics I painted kids all in a row, the boys in shorts and the girls in dresses.  The whole time I was doing that I had that youtube of the little girl throwing a fit in the "pink" isle running through the back of my head.  But sometimes it is just easier, and cuter, to go with gender stereotypes.  Hopefully I did not offend any 4 and 5 year olds with my line of kids.

desk top, preschool auction craft- thumbprints for faces
 I took the desk into school to gather thumbprints from the kids, and then added eyes and a mouth after the thumbprints were dry. thumbprint faces, preschool auction craft- thumbprints for faces

finished desk, preschool auction craft
finished desk
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