Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Grass Heads

For Art Day, we did a project found on Ordinary Life Magic, originally from Usborne Big Book of Things to Do: Grass Heads.

We had the basic ingredients. Socks:Dirt (okay, potting soil):Grass seed (purchased as "turf builder"):
And straight pins:
We did not follow instructions though. We didn't stretch our socks over cups the way you're "supposed" to. But then, we're unschoolers and we do whatever the hell we want. We put seeds in, put dirt in, tied it off (and figuring out how to do that so the knot wouldn't be at the bottom, but the seeds would be at the top was initially complicated), then put buttons on with pins. Like beading, placing buttons with pins was Bastian's favorite part.
Jonas was here too, so I took a photo for his mama, who was not.
Then we placed them outside in the rain. Bastian loved these things and made three of them. In the end, he got a little crazy with the pins. Those are both his on the left. Aleks' is meant to be a skull and has pins for teeth.
This was Bastian's last grass head and he really got into the pins by the end of it.
These two are mine. The one on the right was the first to figure out how to do the project and the one on the left was because there needed to be a cyclops. You just always gotta have a monster around. They come in handy. I'm not sure what for at the moment, however.


Monday, April 27, 2009

Back to Walkin'...

For weeks now, it's been one thing after another: out of town visits, birthday parties, car break-ins, illnesses of one sort or another, endless doctor visits, and the loss of a friend, all amidst the usual meetings for volunteer work, meetings for creative work, getting the garden ready, conflicts with neighbors, looking for work, keeping up on the house, and committing genocide against the ants that are now overtaking our home. Somehow, in all that, our library books got to be rather late.

So today, after calls to figure out health insurance, life insurance, and doctor's bills, along with bill paying, and a lovely letter from the Lego company thanking Aleks for his input (three letters he sent to them a few weeks ago), the boys and I packed up the wagon and headed all the way up the hill for a library visit. We stopped at the hardware store along the way as well for boric acid for killing more ants and grass seed for creating the grass heads we're going to make at art day tomorrow.

On the way, Aleks demonstrated that he can do the Thriller Dance while walking. It reminded me that my only New Year's resolution this year was to learn said Thriller Dance, which I have not yet accomplished. Gotta get on that. Maybe a good project for the fall.The library took much longer than expected as we had to check in the two large bags that we returned before we could check out the three large bags we took home. Plus there were a lot of people waiting who all went in front of us because there was but one circulation clerk.
Then the boys rolled down the hill of the big park and I watched from very far away (which made me nervous) as they played for just a few minutes before dinner. The place was packed and the evening breeze was making it the perfect temperature.
Another good day despite no jobs, no money, no health care, no future, and swine flu on the way!

Should We Talk About the Weather?

Well until the last two days, it was all so lovely that it was the only thing to talk about, but alas now we can talk about the government and the zombie apocalypse that's comin' via the swine flu. Or whatever. Let's not talk about that. Let's just remind ourselves that Vitamin D helps prevents colds and illness (along with probiotics and omegas), and we'll go out and enjoy the sunshine, suck down our ice cream cone and get on with it.

The last several days have been nothing but playing in the yard, digging in the dirt, lunching on the porch in my new wicker chairs, using the ottoman as a table for our empire, and taking walks to Coventry for snacks, books, and playing. The neighbors have all been out in the yard, helping Papa with the garden, walking their dogs, and having barbecues on their porches. It's been such fun. It feels almost like summer. We can't wait.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Two Weeks Later...

Another trip to the botanical gardens on a lovely day and this time, the coy are back in the pond and more and more flowers are a'bloomin'. We invited Emma along to play too. Lovely day.

Bastian tried out all the little seats under all the little trees.

And things are growing more and more! They're beautiful! It feels real, as though there might not be any more snow, dare I wish it!

Grape hyacinths get a technicolor wash...
Digging in the cool sand.
My favorite bottle border all a'glow in the sunlight.
A sun not yet a fountain, but ablaze in the afternoon light.
Pansies with their pretty little faces.

And tulips, dark as tiger lilies, and perhaps more fierce.
The bird house atop the toolshed.
The architecture in the area is all fascinating. The Gehry building blinds planes passing by.

Making mountains out of muck.
Leftover Rasta shovels.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


After planting seedlings and heading to the Co-op, Aleks wanted to stop at Borders. I'm usually quite reluctant about trips like that, but this day I was cool with it, for some odd reason. So we headed there, talked to Heather for a few minutes and got the tremendously well decorated and delicious hot chocolate they offer in the cafe. Then we browsed books for what felt like hours.

I took a look at Keri Smith's new book How to be an Explorer of the World -Portable Art/Life Museum. Then I took an unusual photo of it.
And stars and dust (stardust) above the bookshelves in the children's section.
And of the ceiling.
Finally, we left with a book about reptiles for Aleks and a Diego book for Bastian (whose middle name is actually Diego). Aleks has been especially interested in reptiles and amphibians since he decided that he wanted a pet snake. Our lengthy discussions on the matter resulted in a final decision: Aleks will be getting a leopard gecko for his birthday sometime this summer, given lovingly and freely with all necessary equipment to him by our friend Barbara and her lovely youngest daughters who have become bored with geckos as they have become full-blown, crotchety adolescents. We're going to wait until we get back from vacation at least so we know what we're doing by the time we have to tell a sitter. It will be the children's first real pet. It's quite exciting.

More Seedlings for Earth Day

Earth Day was the new time slot for our Unschooling Co-op/Lego Club-whatever-it-is, so we made planted some seeds. I encouraged the use of marigolds for our garden to keep out pests. The boys liked to pop beans out of some pods that had dried and use those.

Mari makes her own lovely potting mix, which is more ambitious than what we're doing these days, but then she's a Master Gardener. Maybe one day we'll get there (and be able to keep our houseplants alive and well looking).Egg Cartons, we are finding, are infinitely useful.

The boys pick their seeds, then run outside again, then back in and finish pressing them all into cups before I've had a chance to grab my camera again. When they are growing big, I will show them off again.

Collage Monsters

For Art Day, we made collage monsters. Mostly Ivy and I made collage monsters. Miranda did a couple briefly. Bastian cut up some paper. Aleks made me some scales for my dragon and mostly supervised. Bastian's cut paper:
Miranda's Medusa:
Ivy's awesomely abstract Loch Ness monster.
Then they did this:
I spent ten hours working on the Eric Carle dragon we'd been planning since last summer. We worked on some scales a bit in January (which I could not find in my collage box for Art Day, alas), but the whole of the project was quite daunting. Which would make sense considering it ended up requiring the better part of ten hours to complete. After Donna and the girls left, my dining room deteriorated into collage madness:
Finally, at 1:30 a.m., she was complete:
detail of the head
front leg with beard:
other front leg:
rear leg and the tail, which I made too short:
Now to find a way to mount it... She's currently perched rather precariously atop the armoire in my bedroom.