Saturday, January 14, 2012

Clothespin Dolls

One of my favorite places for art project inspirations is Made by Joel. He's beyond creative, a father, etc, etc. Over the summer P was very into fairies so I thought this was the perfect project for us. Well, I got a little creative with the fabrics we had laying around and we went from fairies to Rapunzel to just making lots of dolls. P loved it but I realized I should have done this with her back when she was 2.  The dolls are perfect for that age but as P has gotten older she wants a more anatomically able doll, ie legs, arms, movement.  

With my new found knowledge of age appropriate dolls I decided I'd make a very good friend of ours her own set. She turned 2 in August. Her gift came out pretty good. I stood all the dolls up on an upside down egg carton. I cut an X on the top of each egg bubble and pushed the clothes pin in for a snug fit. 

Thank you Joel for making me look like such a creative genius!

Too Many Crayons

I reorganized P's creative space.  It felt great to put things in proper places and discard the junk.  It also made me aware of what we have too much of.  Crayons for example....and there might be some childhood trauma associated to this.

As a child my parents bought me very few things unless they had something to do with tennis. Crayons were one of those things I desperately wanted but never really got. I think the biggest box I got was 64. I dreamed of the large box with the sharpener in the bottom. Instead I colored with the side of the crayon and rotated it so that it would stay sharp!  

Anyway, when I cleaned out the art box I realized P had so many crayons she could launch her own school.  She's gotten the largest box possible from us, as gifts and then there's me with my trauma. I bring home every crayon from every restaurant we've dined at that offers free crayons. I actually got annoyed with myself and a little jealous of P that we have so much now and I had so little of it then.  Then I got over it. 

I remembered some pretty cool art projects done with crayons from some of my favorite blogs.  But, I thought I'd start with something not too complicated. Melting crayons seemed like a possible task. I got my directions from this blog.  It was easy to follow. 

We started by sorting through all our crayons. We kept only the clean crayons and melted all the pieces and restaurant crayons.

Every step of sorting was wildly entertaining to P. She loved finding pieces and taking the wrappers off and then putting each crayon where it belonged.  

 Then we sorted by color. Even more entertaining to this 4 year old!

 Dave got me mini cans of soda to cut and use as the melting containers for each color.  These soda cans went into a pan with simmering water.  I would recommend using a pan you don't really care for. I made the mistake of using one of my good ones. When you pour the melted crayons into the molds the wax will drip down the side of the can.  You will have to put the cans back into the simmering water as you work to keep the wax liquid. Also, if you fill the pan with too much water the soda cans tend to float if they don't have enough crayon in them.  An inch of water or less keeps the cans from flipping.  I was paranoid of getting wax on my good pan! I can't imagine eggs tasting good with an essence of Crayola!

You will want to cover the space where you'll pour the wax into the molds with newspaper or something.  Even though our counter top is granite and the wax came off easy, there was quite a splatter of wax. It was much easier to just pick of the paper and throw it all out when done.  

I bought star and heart candy molds from Michael's for $1.99 each.  They have many different options but I thought I'd start small.  

The rest was pretty easy. Just pour the hot wax into the molds and then put them into the freezer for 5-10 minutes.  After they've cooled they slide out when flipped over very easy.  Because this was my first time I didn't do too many color combinations. On the few that I did combine it was pretty cool to see the color swirls. 

My only changes from the original instructions were that I cut the paper off the crayons before melting them. I found it easy to cut whatever wrapper was left on the crayon with a sharp blade. For the most part, the wrapper seemed to fall off in one piece that way.  And P helped throughout the entire process. She did not handle the hot soda cans but she did stir the wax with large Popsicle sticks.  It depends how comfortable you are with a stove and kids.  P cooks with me all the time so both of us were cautious but ok with it all. 

Dave was so amazed we created fresh, fun crayons out of old junky pieces.  And I feel so much better about our excess of crayons. And to some extend my soul healed a little bit. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

30 weeks Ultrasound

Another emotional day.  The ultrasounds with the perinatologist are incredibly stressful for me.  The last one at 18 weeks told us everything was ok.  We've done several different tests and each one brought us better and better news.  And yet, I'm in a panic before every appointment.  

When we got our bad news 3 years ago I was so confident...over confident that everything was ok.  I never, in a million years, thought we'd get bad news.  So, whenever I feel confident now I worry.  Am I too confident?  Things can go wrong at the very last minute. Things go wrong after birth for Pete's sake!  

Well, we made it through the appointment.  The doctor said we were all incredibly healthy. My bp was 120/79, pulse 79. My blood work was fantastic.  The baby is developing at the proper rate.  All her systems, primarily her brain are perfect.  The blood flow is great. She is healthy and moving a lot. In fact, she's quite responsive to stimuli and that is a great sign.  My cervix is still long despite the increase pressure I feel.  All set for the due date.  

Dave was such a huge support. He made me laugh prior to the appointment. Although he was calm and held it together I knew he was stressed. When the lights went out and the monitor turned on with our baby girl's image on it we held hands and I could tell he was as nervous and uptight as I was.  It wasn't until after dinner he said "I'm emotionally tired". I was right there with him and I spent the rest of the afternoon in bed I was so exhausted.    

The only thing the doctor said was a little off was my weight.    I've gained too much . Turns out at this stage in pregnancy we can control with our diet and exercise some of the genetic factors of obesity and diabetes.  At 18 weeks I started working out regularly and I hit it hard. Yoga twice a week. Hiking twice a week and a walk or two in as well every week.  Now, it's time to eat a better diet.  I will admit that I made way too many cookies this holiday season. I made chocolate mousse, date-nut bread, 3 kinds of cookies on top of apple pie, pumpkin pie and a few rounds of cinnamon buns.  I felt it was my last and only year I could hide all food under the pregnancy. 

So all is good.  One more appointment to go at 37 weeks. That appointment will let us know if my scar from the c-section is holding up to go ahead for a v-back.  I'm praying I can at least attempt to have this child naturally. I know child birth has a direction of its own but I'd really like to have one natural child birth. I know I'm strong enough. 

A Photographer/Director in the Making

 We weren't able to do a Christmas card photo shoot with our friends this year.  Dave's friend Tony was called to work on a movie in New Mexico at the last minute.  Dave was crazy busy with work as well so I knew P and I were going to have to do this one ourselves.  

I had an idea of doing a picture of P with my belly.  I didn't want to jinx the pregnancy but when Tony got called away to work I thought it was a green light the universe was giving me to go ahead.  I started out setting up the shot above.  It didn't take too many takes with the timer to get what I needed.  And it didn't take too long for P to push me aside and direct the shoot herself. 

We started with just the two of us.  I guided her a little bit on how the camera worked and how she could "check the gate" with the buttons on the back of the camera.  Dave came home just in time to be a part of it all at which point P really began directing.  It cracked us up to hear the things she said:
"oh that was a great picture", "i think it works", "ok this time fly like birds", "this one give me a scared face", "can you think of something happy and funny". It was like watching a mini director. She was quite articulate and clearly expressed what she wanted from us.  Below is an assortment of her shots.

This was our Christmas card this year. I ordered them again from Tiny Prints.  I love their paper stock, prices and overall quality.