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Archive for the tag “creativity”

Computer Success and Play-Do!

Success!  I finally called Olympus and they sent me a new program which works splendidly.  It has a lot more editing power so it’s going to take me a bit to figure out, but I am so happy to have a way to get my pictures onto the computer now.  Phew.

So…here is the post that I was planning on posting when this whole mess began.

Once again our weather has turned cooler. Not that I’m complaining, but a little warmer weather would be nice. However, I have great hopes for after school starts. It always seems to warm up to torment the kids as they head back their classrooms. This weather though is very nice for our workers who are replacing our siding, so I can’t complain. They work better in cooler weather. What it doesn’t help is my routine with my son. Normally we spend a great deal of time in the gardens playing in the dirt and yanking out weeds. With the construction that’s just not possible. We’ve gone to the park, the library, and the grocery store which is all part of our normal morning routine. It is the after-nap hours, before my husband gets home, that the construction wreaks havoc with. So today, I had a brilliant idea…Play do! I posted a recipe for homemade play do in a previous post and today we made it. It was messy, gloriously fun and kept my son occupied for a good hour or more. At first he tried to eat it, but eventually he understood that it was to play with. We had a pencil, and a plastic utensil set to make our creations. Here is what he (I only did he hair) came up with.

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I think if he might have a future in sculpting.

Happy Playing!

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Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

I ventured out with another mom last week for a trip to OMSI. I remember field trips to OMSI when I was a kid and I always loved it. Of course, I’ve always been a science geek.

The museum is huge with lots of different exhibits, a planetarium, and huge circular theater. The theater is an experience, but if you get motion sickness, it can be a bit much.  While most of the museum caters to older kids and adults, they have a large area for kids five and under. It allows the kids to learn while playing and help explore all things science. It’s a great way for kids to let loose, experiment and have fun all within a fairly contained area. We had a blast and now that our son is walking full-time, we’ll definitely go back.

Here is a recipe for home-made play dough from the OMSI website:

From OMSI website

The Ingredients


1 cup salt
2 cups flour
3 tbs cream of tarter
2 tbs oil
2 cups water
Food coloring or liquid watercolor (a few drops)
Glitter (optional)


The Steps


  • Mix the dry ingredients into a large bowl, stir well. DO NOT ADD GLITTER YET!
  • Mix the water, oil, and food coloring in a separate bowl.
  • Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients while stirring
  • Stir until you get a smooth consistency
  • Cook in microwave on high for 2-3 minutes
  • Remove the crusty playdough from around the edge of the bowl with a fork
  • Let dough cool, and stir dough for about one minute, breaking up the lumps
  • Return to microwave and cook for 2-3 minutes
  • Remove the crusty playdough from around the edge of the bowl with a fork.
  • Let cool, and knead dough for about one minute, breaking up the lumps
  • Cook until dough is no longer sticky, about one minute
  • Spread out on cookie sheet or tray to aid the cooling process
  • Knead in the glitter and have fun!

Notes About Safety


DO NOT PUT GLITTER IN THE MICROWAVE!

Be very careful, the dough will be extremely hot after cooking, and cooking times vary depending on the microwave.

Recycled Creativity

Today my husband is at an all-day grilling and smoking class leaving me at home wondering what to do on a Sunday. Low and behold, I found out that there was a Recycled Art festival going on in conjunction with the Farmer’s market. I loaded my son up and we headed out despite the threat of rain.

There were some really neat things and I got some great ideas for future projects. I guess it’s time to rummage around and see what I can find to make.

Here were some of my favorite’s…(Pictures are taken off the web site because I didn’t have my camera with me.  Most of the pictures are linked up with the artist’s website.)

 

 

Who Needs Toys?

Is it parents or kids who want all the toys?

My parents came over last night and brought a canister filled with old cookie cutters (the plastic kind). We used them as kids to make Christmas decorations and cookies. Anyway, my son got a hold of that container and spent the next 45 minutes opening and closing the container. He would remove the cookie cutters, replace them, then put the lid on, ask us to help him open the container and repeat.

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He did this for longer than he’s played with any of his toys. I wonder what would happen if I removed most (because I can’t justify removing all of them) toys? I wonder what he would create.

I ♥ Vaseline

Dear Robert Chesebrough,

Thank you for creating this magical product. I’ve used it to seal a modified air cold storage room when I was working, cure chapped lips, grease creaky joints, and now, I use to get rid of redness on my baby’s bottom. According to Wikipedia, you burned yourself in front of people to sell your product. You are one crazy dude.

I hope you won an award for your creative genius. If not, I hope that at least you got paid. Maybe being dubbed sir is enough.

Sincerely,

A Thankful Mom from the 21st century.

Getting Back in the Swing of Things

Photo credit: David Lim

I have always loved to dance.  As a little girl I would occupy myself for hours on end dancing to the radio, tapes, even records.  I didn’t matter what the songs were as long as it made me want to move.  I danced all though high school.  In college I tried out for the dance team, but didn’t make it.  I was crushed, my identity was suddenly fuzzy.  Who was I if I wasn’t dancing?  I struggled with this identity crisis until my Sophomore year when I discovered ballroom dancing.  It was fabulous.  I learned all the smooth dances (except the quick step), but fell head over heels in love with the spicier Latin dances.  After college I was even a member of a salsa troupe in Sacramento as I pursued my Masters degree.  While I still love salsa, the one dance that has stuck the most is west coast swing.  I think it’s the openness of the dance, the ability for the follower to create movement within the structure of the dance, and the variety of music (blues, pop, oldies) that hooked me.  That and a handful of really awesome women and a few men who have become amazing friends.

Like all things, what goes up must come down.  It is a very costly hobby, unless you are one of the few fortunate enough to make a living off of it.  So, I took a break, birthed my son and became a mother.  Now that he’s almost a year old and sleeping through the night (yay!) I was getting the urge to get back on the dance floor.  I was nervous, but excited and thank goodness for muscle memory.  I was concerned that I had forgotten how to dance, how to move, how to create, but it’s kinda like riding a bike.  I lost myself in the music, laughed and poked some fun at my friends, and had a great time.  And honestly, it felt great to go back to doing something that I have loved for so long and it’s nice to know, that it will always be there for me.

Here are some videos of some of my favorite dancers:

Finger Puppet

I belong to a small group of mom’s that get together every other Monday.  It’s a great group and the kids get along so well together.  We try to have one “activity” and this week was my turn hosting.  Since all the kids are young (the oldest is 20 months) it’s difficult to find something that they all can do and have fun with.  We’re not really at the coloring, building, digging, pay attention for long stretches of time stage yet, so it’s pretty challenging.  In lieu of having the kids do the crafting, I decided to make something that they could play with later.  After browsing around online I settled on knitting finger puppets  (as seen in Knitty).

The eyes and mouth were very difficult for me, but at least they have a face.  We tried to corral the boys to read Peter Rabbit with the puppets, but mostly they just wanted to run around and climb the stairs.  Boys (sigh).  Once they get older I’m sure it will be more fascinating.

If you do have an older child, this could be a really great way for them to get engaged with books and identifying animals.  I made an elephant as well, but have yet to put eyes on him.  The ears of the bear were giving me some trouble so I have yet to figure that out.  Either way, their very quick to work up and don’t require a lot of yarn (I just used stash yarn).  If you’re looking for something quick and easy to knit, these fit the bill.

My Top 10 Ways for Finding Inspiration

Most everybody I know lives a busy life filled with work, kids, school, etc.  There seems to be little time for creative pursuits, if you even know what inspires you in the first place.  It can be difficult to figure it all out.  I few years ago I had a conversation with an old friend of mine who asked me how I knew what my hobbies were, how I knew what made me happy.  Well, I’ve always be a curious sort, so I guess I’ve just always known what I was attracted to.  That conversation has stayed with me and I’ve begun to wonder, what if I didn’t know?  How would I figure it out?

This is where I’d start and is my personal go-to list whenever I get the urge to try something new.

1)  The craft store: If you like paper, stamps, ribbons, painting, yarn….just about anything, this is a great place to start.  There are usually samples scattered through the store and they have classes for further inspiration.

2) The library: Library’s have books on everything and anything.  I’ve found that one of the best ways to know if you’re interested in something is to read about it.  If you find you still want to know more, than chances are, you’re onto something

3) A community center: Usually there are a variety of classes on everything from music to basket weaving.  It doesn’t cost much, the schedules are accommodating to working people, and it’s a great way to introduce yourself to a craft while meeting others.  It’s a 2fer!

4) Spend a day touring around: Rather than plop yourself down in front of the tv (Avoid marathons that suck you in.  I’ve done this plenty of times) take a walk or a drive around.  I have found that getting out in the world can be inspiring if you allow yourself the time to enjoy and reflect.

5) Write: Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best.  Make a journal (be honest!) and re-read at a later date.  You might be surprised by what you find

6) Get organized:  You can’t start a project or even find a shred of inspiration if your scattered.  My husband would disagree because  he thinks I live in constant disarray, but to me it’s all organized.

7) Start with something small and everyday:  Cooking is a great way to start adding creativity into your everyday.  We all have to eat sometime, and it doesn’t have to be elaborate.  How many times have you been to a restaurant and thought, I wish I could make this at home?  Okay, so maybe some of you never have at all, but I know I have.  Actually, I did this past month with a wonderful oatmeal brulee at one of our favorite breakfast spots.   I’ve actually managed to perfect it too, but that will be a post for another time.

8) Find a friend: We all need encouragement, and sometimes it’s easier to get inspired with someone else.  Just like working out is easier when you have someone else to do it with, finding inspiration or trying something new is easier with another person.

9) Allow yourself to think like a kid: Remember when you were five?  Everything was exciting and new.  I think we all need to get back to that spot where anything is possible and you want to try everything.  It’s never too late to make all your childhood dreams come true, even if it’s only for a few hours.

10) Be well rested and Have Fun!: Two of the most important parts.  If your sleep deprived, you can’t think clearly and if you’re not having any fun, well, then it’s probably a sign.  Weekends are the best time to start finding and diving into the creative.  So have fun and create!

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