Of Paper Flowers and other Teacher’s Gifts

Teacher’s Gifts…Ah, that mind boggling category that comes around every school year a few times annually. Thank God for Pinterest. I love it for its massive inventory of ideas and then some. We have always done handmade teacher’s gifts along with the quintessential gift cards. This year hasn’t been any different. My 11 yr. old loved making the special gift for his teacher as did my 8 yr. old, for the Valentine day, for hers. Here are pictures of some of the gift projects we DIY’d for them. Pretty sweet!

Hope you will enjoy it. Do share pictures under comments, of any DIY gifts you do for your teachers.

 

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Crafting n then some!

Hallelujah! I am back. I know I say this with every post! Guess, some folks are just not cut out to be on top of their regular posts on social media. Case in point, yours truly. The one bright spot on that is though, that we do a lot of crafting, baking, art, writing, and teaching here at our home to compensate for our do-nothingness on social media especially blogging.

We have been busy bees and been doing a lot of artsy stuff. I did complete another painting. The kids meanwhile did more than a few, courtesy of being in my art class. They are doing great and improvising on their pencil sketching and painting skills. They have understood the basics of art pretty well and rattle off about shades, tints, neutrals, hues, values, elements of art, all in one breath. Which I think is quite an accomplishment by the way. They are also getting used to talking about various artists and their incredible art. I love that some of this is taught at the school too. I think the public schools do a great job of inculcating the love of art in children. Both my 11 yr. old son and 8 yr. old daughter adore art. Some of their favorite school projects are the ones where they could use their creativity and come up with a unique perspective on a project.

Since October (which is when I blogged last), we have been through quite a few class parties, teacher’s gifts as well as art classes at home. All of these required some sort of creative twist or two. I am sharing pictures of some of these art projects. Hope you will enjoy viewing them.

Until next time…which hopefully would be sooner than later!

Ciao..

 

Adventures in 5th Grade

My first born is now in his last year of elementary school. We have mixed feelings about this. The fact that next year he will be in middle school sort of hits home the fact that losing the ‘elementary” school title makes it official that he is no longer a little kid but an aspiring teenager! Whoa…where did that come from? Don’t get me wrong, 5th grade has been great. I am finally a room Mom this year. Figured that for my son’s last year at elementary school, I could do this. I have volunteered at the school and kids classrooms always but never wore the Room Mom crown. I am glad though that I committed to it this year. We get to plan the big graduation and other fun stuff for their last year of elementary school. Yay!

So, just the other day, my son sprang a surprise on me. He got off the school bus and told me he was running for President! I did a double take on that. So up until now our school has not had a student council or any student officers, so this is a wonderful, pleasant surprise. Preparation for his nomination speech has reached a crescendo and tonight we finalized on his pitch speech to get a formal nomination. If he wins that, he will be debating with the other two candidates and then the voting happens and the finale. The President shall be chosen and the Student Council will come into being. I can imagine all of us going crazy with the campaign posters if he wins the nomination. We will be all over Pinterest and our art supplies, putting our best artist skills to use. My 8 year old is so excited that she is already making flyers and posters for big brother much to his chagrin and even rallying her friends to his side : ) Little sisters are the best, aren’t they? I speak here from experience ; )

Here is a snippet of his speech. Irrespective of the outcome, I am so proud of him. He came up with the Ari_SCT_Speech
speech on his own as well as thought of the agenda all by himself.

What do you think? Would he get the nomination?

Next blog post, we will be back to the clubhouse aka the ‘non-tree’ tree house. I still owe you all the final pictures : )

 

 

The Poppy Chair

It’s all about the chair. The Poppy chair.

I always get caught up in myriad projects all at once. There are a million ideas flitting about in my head and accumulating. Instead of sorting them out in the order of preference, I always end up diving head long into multiple projects. From hoarding up on surprise thrift store, yard sale finds to my DIY and makeover projects, its hard to keep up. Its tougher than it sounds. I am working on it though. One project at a time. Next up, is the completion of kids clubhouse that I blogged about last time.

As I mentioned in one of my blog posts back in February (yikes) , I scored a mid century modern chair which was just too gorgeous to pass up on. The idea was to paint it and reupholster the seat cushion. While the painting happened soon after I brought it home, the fabric for the cushion was another story. After months of procrastinating and thinking that I will design my own fabric for it, I relented and just ordered something off of Spoonflower. This most amazing website lets you design and get your own fabric printed as well as has a vast array of fabrics in every theme or color you can think of. Since I love poppies and they are so reminiscent of 50’s-60’s to me (don’t ask why..maybe the opium vibe that I get from it ), I went with a mid century modern poppy kind of print. It works perfectly.

I also had some cool mirrors that were thrift store finds which I painted and used to make a cozy, little corner for my Poppy chair. Yes, its been nicknamed “The Poppy Chair”. It commands attention and is in general quite demanding. I am attaching a picture. Let me know what you all think. I adore this new corner. Did I mention before, its all about the Chair? Even the cast of Game of Thrones would agree with me….their chair has had bloodshed follow it, while mine is pretty harmless and in general evokes feelings of creativity and happiness. So much better ; )

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Time really does Fly…believe it!

How is it that one month has passed since my last post? I had resolved to be more regular with my blog but somehow the time just flew by. I think we use the phrase “time flies” so loosely without realizing that actually, magically and unbelievably, time does beat us each time. Sigh…

Kids are back at school and the Summer camps are a thing of the past. Before my Fall Art classes start, I used whatever free time I could salvage and embarked on a new project. This one is for the kids. Its a treehouse minus the tree! Ok, so its a clubhouse as the kids call it or a backyard playhouse but why get into technical terminology when any and all of these words scream fun! My poor husband did not know what he was signing up for! It all started during the Summer vacation when the kids and I made one of our many trips to the local public library. As you have probably guessed, we are still big on actual physical books and not much for e-books. We or rather I, checked out this book titled “Housebuilding for Children” thinking it will keep kids busy and I will give them some wood pallets and scrap wood etc. to tinker around in the garage. But, no sooner had I got the book home that I realized my folly. Soon I was hearing things from the garage that sounded like “Mom, can I use the saw?”, “Mom, I want to hammer something”….oh well, that ended pretty fast. We had to take it up a notch and get some muscle power in there. Why buy something when you can make it yourself. We obviously like to make things just a wee bit difficult or lets just say challenging, for ourselves. Makes life that much more interesting. Ha. In steps Daddy..completely in the dark and not knowing what to expect. From there on started a laundry list of materials needed, construction plans, math tutorials and lot of enthusiastic neighborhood kids who wanted to help. After some hits and misses, we have a pretty decent house up. Sure its missing the roof, the window frames, the front step, the landscaping, and the interior decorations but all in good time.untitled (29) untitled (25)

Give us couple more weeks and you shall see what two amateur carpentry enthusiasts along with two little minions can accomplish with their extremely limited wood working skills but intensely high motivation to create something from a scratch.

Do you have any ideas about how we should finish the roof?

Back from the dead and yes its Summer!

Back from the dead! I am not even going to talk about my extended absence from my blog. I think I have truly reached new heights when it comes to blogger disappearances! To admit I am ashamed about it would be truly an understatement. But, shame can’t hold me back….

I have been having a busy summer. Amongst other things, I started teaching art or rather STEAM art part time at a new academy (NoVA Enrichment Academy) near home. For those of you who are not familiar with STEAM, its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) with infusion of art in it. Pretty neat eh? The kids are hilarious and I love how they twist and shape each art assignment to their own interpretation. These are kids ranging in age group from 6-8 years and as you can imagine their imaginations and creativity are boundless and not yet hampered by conventional ways of thinking. Sometimes I feel, we get boxed into the conventionality and lose our perspective somewhat. We did various projects based on science concepts and wove them into the art tapestry. The results were incredible! Here are a couple of pictures that I think you all will enjoy. There’s tons more stuff to share especially considering the amount of time I have been absconding..but I will get to it slowly. Don’t want to make this post too long and boring. I need you back the next time : )untitled (20)untitled (19)untitled (16)

A love affair with a dining table!

Sorry for being MIA for so long. We were out of the country vacationing for what felt like forever! Finally home and getting back into swing of things, as they say. Its hard to believe how much stuff can pile up when one is busy vacationing in a far away land. It was a total technology detox for me as well. Hard as it was, I had decided that I won’t be doing any blogging, FB, texting or even emailing (unless it was a life or death situation, which as I realized it never is…we create it for ourselves). It was blissful to not think about updates, posts or pictures..mine or someone else’s! But, having said that, I am happy to be back in the era of technology. Everything is good in moderation, wouldn’t you say?

Moving on, here’s something I have been meaning to share. I am so totally in love with my new dining table. For the longest time I have been obsessing about reclaimed wood and having a table that comes with an interesting story. Boy, did I find one..or rather got one made! Oh how I love to tell this story. As luck would have it, I chanced upon Bryan. He is a carpenter or rather an artist who works out of his workshop in Staunton, VA. Believe it or not, he is a 12th generation direct descendent of Mr. John Alden, who incidentally was one of the carpenters on the ship Mayflower. This just keeps getting better and better, wouldn’t you agree? The wood from our table comes from an Apple Orchard from the 1840’s. To say that the wood has a lot of character would be an understatement. It has beautiful mill marks from a sash saw, and most of the wood used in the table was part of the white pine wood joist from the barn, that came from an over 300 year old tree. The design I wanted was a simple straight plank table with a trestle base and Bryan suggested doing a keyed mortise and tenon joint. I did not want any wood stains so we just went with simple polyurethane. The cherry on top was Bryan’s family crest burnt into the table as his signature. Now all that is left for me to do is to put all this information down, frame it and display it in my dining area. I can imagine all the fun meals and love that would be shared on and around this unique piece of art.

My current project involves finding dining chairs that would do this beautiful table justice. The hunt is on! Stay tuned for updates on that…hopefully, coming soon.Table3

Hope you will enjoy looking at this table as much as I enjoyed sharing it with you. (please ignore the carpet…it was a place filler and a new and improved version has replaced this old thing) ; )

Ciao, until my next post.Table_2 table_base_2

Of bickering and squabbling!

a5b7f00579d3071ee296ee9096c19e64If you are a parent who has more than one child, you can probably relate to this blog post’s title! Winter is the worst. With all of the snow days thrown in and all this energy to burn, the little angels turn into sort of demonic beings that want to devour anything that happens to come in their path and looks at you askance when challenged. We’ve all had those days and I am having one right now. As much as I love my kids, there are times during the day when I wish for nothing more than to curl up with a good book and retreat into a peaceful, quiet corner of the house. A warm cup of freshly brewed chai tea would not be turned down at that point : ) But all of that is a dream that only comes to fruition when the school’s in session and the little kids are doing the robot dance there ; )

During my 10 minutes of skimming over the newspaper today I came across this interesting article where a Mom who had got tired and wary of her children’s bickering’s struck this moment of brilliance in a unique, new idea. She thought of an award system to calm the kids down and to motivate them to be at their best behavior. This is no “you get a candy if you are good” award. These are a series of special commemorative plates that are used as special awards and have inspiring words written on them telling the kids how much their good sibling or Samaritan behavior, is appreciated. You can read more about it here.

I am hoping to strike up a genius idea like this one of these days. In the meantime, there’s Pinterest and screaming! The rate at which the kids are growing, which incidentally seems to be like a weed or is it bamboo? Well, you get the idea, I think their hostility towards each other will be over sooner than I can come up with that multi million dollar idea. That’s all for good, though. I can keep my sanity instead of the money. What say? Having said all that, I still wouldn’t change anything about our wonderful life or our precious kids. Each of their characteristic is as unique as they come. I have embraced it as I embraced my “scary Mommy” avatar.

What idea of brilliance would you think of next? Do tell.

Mermaids and Ballerinas

IMG_3385We are on day 3 of our snow days here in Virginia. The kids are of course beyond excited as even though there is no snow (just freezing rain), the prospect of watching a movie on a weekday (maybe) is wauntitled (2)y too exciting. Usually we do some crafting and art on our days off but today is one of those days where after exhaustively working on their duly appointed homework, they chose watching TV over crafting. Yes, I am a hard task master who before dispensing of the rewards demands sacrifices from her loyal subjects. Its for their own good if you must judge.

Since I am big on art and crafts as well, I notice that my 7 yr old daughter is quite happily following suite. How wonderful it is, when your child tells you that they aspire to be like you. A designer, a creator, a crafter or as my daughter lovingly refers to me as “Clay Maker”. She is my biggest fan and admirer.

We did a couple of crafts. Love Pinterest for it has a limitless supply of cool ideas for anyone who has a glue gun, odds n ends, beads, buttons, rock, paper, scissors…(shoot)..Just kidding, and a healthy imagination, along with of course, excited, craft loving kids! My 7 yr old and I decided to do some papier mache ballerinas to hang in her room along with our paper flowers. It was so much fun to rip the tissue paper, soak it in glue and slather it all on the ballerina wire frame. Here’s a picture of the outcome of our labor and sweat. What do you think? I think it adds a lot of charm and movement to her little reading corner.  She got so inspired that she also ended up sketching and coloring this totally awesome picture of a mermaid as a bonus.

Maybe next time we will try a boy version and maybe make some super heroes out of this! That would be pretty cool.

Ciao…until our next snow day and next craft hack from Pinterest!

Here’s a link to the pinterest pin we used.

 

The Smell of a brand New Year

Now that the champagne bottlese3d0a3522464280ad15fd7e5f9e2f4a4 are in the recycle bin and the heels have been put away to tend to sore feet, the time for reflection is all in the past as well! We are headlong into a brand, spanking new year. My very first resolution of the year was to make sure I blog on the first day of the year. Ya, that really did not go as planned. How do folks do it? I am in awe of bloggers who are able to find enough time during the day to put their thoughts together in a creative, awe inspiring, methodical and original way. Where do you get the content from people? Are you doing a DIY project a day? Don’t you have kids who tell you that you spend way too much time on your smart gadgets and laptops? What am I doing wrong? My other resolution that evolved out of my first failed one, is to understand this mystical fact. How?

The year is off to a great start though. We danced and sang our way into the year. Ate too much, drank too much, and laughed too much! I have to say that if we did this the entire year, I would say the year turned out great. I do have a long list of things I want to achieve this year. I am sure you will hear my rants about some or possibly all of those as the year goes along. For now, I just want to wish all of you a very Happy and Healthy 2015. They don’t say Health is Wealth for nothing.

I sign off today’s post with this beautiful and well known poem of Lord Tennyson’s.

 In Memoriam, [Ring out, wild bells]
Lord Alfred Tennyson, 18091892
Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light:
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind
   For those that here we see no more;
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease;
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.