Category: projects

Watercolor Fun

mom-birchMy son is always making things. He is also the sort of kid who never really has an answer if you ask him something like, “What do you want for your birthday?” As a result, he has amassed quite a collection of art supplies.

Art is something that Alex enjoys; it is his thing. So, my approach as pretty much been one of letting him be, and giving him the space to do whatever he wants. However, I noticed that he only uses a few of his supplies. He’s branched out a tiny bit, but he seems to only use the the things he’s sure how to use. 

So, I wondered what would happen if I asked him to make something with me. I wanted to get him to try watercolors. He was game. We followed a YouTube tutorial and made mom and son paintings.

It was very interesting to follow something step-by-step with him. It illustrated the difference in our personalities/approaches very clearly. I had watched the video once already when I found the activity that I wanted to do with him. Then we watched it together. I followed the steps pretty closely. He followed them loosely. At one point, he realized that he had done something totally different than what the instructions required. He was pretty bummed. I told him to work with it anyway. In my opinion, that’ what made his painting more interesting than mine.

About three quarters of the way through the project, Alex lit up and said, “Hey, we did this in art class.” It was so weird to me that he didn’t realize this until we were almost done. Sort of. It is abundantly clear that the way that Alex processes things is different than the way I do.

He told me that he was glad that we had done the project together and that he would like to do more things like this together in the future. I am determined to take advantage of this while he still feels this way. 
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December Daily 2014 – A Beginning

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These are Alex’s hands. I took a picture of him when he was sleeping during a road trip that we took to visit the Herbert Hoover Library and Museum and meet up with a friend. When I look at that picture now I basically feel what I felt when I looked over and saw that deep sleep he enjoyed.

This is why I’ve taken up pocket scrapbooking.

My internet footprint speaks to how much I like to document things, but this scrapbook thing brings it home in a different way. I like when Alex flips through one of the pages and reminisces on what happened like a little old man.

This is why I’ve decided to give December Daily a try this year. That and I love to plan things. Planning things makes me feel so orderly. Here we are on the first of December, and the binder that I began preparing a couple of weeks ago is ready to be used. I’ve even identified some fonts that I imagine using as I document this holiday season.

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The other thing that I’m trying to do is slow down a bit and enjoy the holiday season, which is the point of December Daily. Lately, I’ve been having more and more trouble with the slow down thing. I always want to do several things at a time. I want to push toward many goals. That’s just the way I do things, but I can tell when I’m starting to push too hard. The words leave. Not here, the writing words rarely leave unless there is a reason that I have retreated from them. The spoken words are the ones that run away. When I have too many things going on, when I’m pushing too hard, I am like a computer with too many programs running. I stall out in the performance of tasks that should be no trouble.

So, part of what I want to do is linger over hot chocolate. I want to watch some holiday movies. I want to slowly take a walk and photograph holiday lights.

I want to enjoy the season.

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How I Made My BMO Halloween Costume

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I have to learn how to ask more questions when the boyfriend mentions things. He mentioned that there was a party that we were invited to. He mentioned that I should bring Alex. He didn’t mention that it was a Halloween party. I should have asked, you see, it is now late in October, a simple question would have done me a solid. A simple question would have meant that I could have worked on my Halloween costume over a week’s time instead of, you know, the day before.

IMG_0492However, because I work somewhere where dressing for Halloween is encouraged, I had already been thinking of being Beemo from Adventure Time. But for me, a Halloween costume has to meet certain standards. I need to feel fully clothed in it. I need to be able to work in it without constantly bothering with it. If I take part of it off later, I still need to look, well, I don’t want to cringe anytime someone sees me because I know I look extra wild. Sitting is important; I need to be able to sit in the thing.

It seemed like a Beemo costume could meet these standards if I did it right. This meant no dressing in a box.

IMG_0491This is when I decided to bring on the felt. This is also when I started Googling BMO. Remember, I needed to do this costume in quick order. The day I started making this costume, my son had a half day at school. So, I needed to drop him off at 8:00, and pick him up at noon. We also had a parent-student-teacher conference scheduled for 4:20 which means that I also had to go back to the school in time for that. Did I mention that my son doesn’t go to his local neighborhood school? He goes to a school that is about 12 miles away, and usually some sort of traffic mishap stands between home and school. I’m not complaining; I love the school, but the point here is to describe the day. Then I get a text asking me to pick up some food from Mr. Hey-I-thought-I-told-you-it-was-a-Halloween-party. So I did that, meaning a wait in line and more time down the tubes. That is the scenic way of saying that I was in the fabric store pretty much saying, “Um, I’ll take one half yard of this. And um…..let’s see….”

There are a lot of Beemo costumes out there, and most of them involve boxes, which totally make sense. I looked at a few of those in the store on my phone (before I dropped it and cracked the screen; that came later). Then I thought, I can do this. Then, the phone turned off due to lack of charge. That’s when I thought, now what color are his controls?

At home, I made a sketch so that I could figure out how I wanted to go about putting this thing together. And this is how it came together.

IMG_0496Materials
1/2 yard light blue felt
1/2 yard dark gray felt
2 yards (72″) teal felt
6 9X12″ sheets black felt
1 9X12″ sheet hot pink felt
1 9X12″ sheet blue felt
1 9X12″ sheet green felt
1 9X12″ sheet dark green felt
pins
tacky glue
ruler
marker or pen
hand sewing needle
teal thread
black thread
pipe insulating tubing
craft foam (the kind you buy by the yard)

The first thing I did was to cut out the four sides of this costume.

So, I had Beemo’s front and back, and the sides. The sides are shorter than the the front and back because this deficit gives me a space to put my arms. Then, I cut two strips that would join the front of the costume to the back of the costume at the top. So, this was basically the shoulder area of the costume.

Once I had these pieces cut out, I started to decorate the front and the back of the costume. The light blue felt made Beemo’s screen; I eyeballed a squarish shape. I used black felt to make his eyes and mouth. I made his controls using the small sheets of felt, again eyeballing the shapes. I placed this felt onto Beemo’s front.  His back consists of ventilation slots (made from gray felt), and a slot for VHS tapes or something, which I made from two strips of dark green felt.

This project involved a whole lot of ‘eyeballing it.’

For the sides I cut out two sets of these letters, “BMO” from black felt.

My plan was to glue all of these into place.

However, I have learned from creative ventures past that once you start feeling tired, you should think about taking a break/stopping for the night. Once you feel tired and cranky, you should just drop your scissors on the floor and run away. So, this is where I stopped. 

The next morning, I had to attach BMO’s features. I had intended to just simply glue all of this down. I glued most of it down, but discovered that I was running out of tacky glue. So, I sewed some of the darker pieces down, using black thread.

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Now it was time for me to sew the thing together. I had bought some upholstery interfacing for this project. I cut out a piece for the shoulder rectangles and the upper edges of the costume. It helped stabilize things, but not as much as I had hoped. This is why both craft foam and pipe insulation are involved. I cut two pieces of foam that were the size of the shoulder area of the costume and stitched them in place. This helped quite a bit.  And I was able to wear BMO to the party after trimming his threads.

IMG_0510I wasn’t quite happy though. There was more floppiness in the costume than I wanted. This is where the pipe insulation came in

The pipe insulation was for the edges of the rectangles that form BMOs body. The idea is to give it a bit more structure without weighing down the costume. So, I began to hand stitch these into the costume. Turns out that the thread just ripped through this. So instead, I made a little felt tubes around parts of the insulation and sewed felt to felt, which worked.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with the costume, and I hope that all of the kids who see it on Halloween will get a thrill out of it.

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