Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ghouls on a stick!!


Halloween is just around the corner, one of my favorite holidays. The rowdies and I have a lot of fun with Halloween projects. One of our favorites is monsters, ghouls and skeletons on a stick. This is similar to the project I posted on January 24th, 2009, the paintbrush characters. We used paperclay as we did for that project but this time we molded it around a styrofoam ball, you can use really small round styrofoam or the really large ones. You can put all kinds of bumps and bulges on it to make it a scary monster.

We put a screw in this ghoul's head (he's got a screw loose!!)

After the clay dries paint them with acrylic paints and apply a sealer of some kind. The stick can be anything from a skewer to a popscicle stick, we also painted our stick. The sticks we used for ghouls-on-a-stick are lollipop sticks, my favorites..they make the ghouls look like lollipops!!

Have fun!!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Art Tip

Lauryn's art.

I keep a whole section of art materials just for the rowdies to use when they come to visit. Kids do love to paint and draw, but almost all of my grandkids have experienced "artist's block."

They are all set to paint and they ask me what they should paint. I suggest things like bunny rabbits, kitty cats or merry-go-rounds. Their reaction is "I can't paint that", or "I don't know do it for me."

To encourage them to explore with their art I tell them I would like to see how they paint a bunny rabbit, maybe by watching them I can learn something about bunny rabbit painting...things I would never have pink and purple polka dots and squiggles for a tail.

So, instead of me sitting down drawing a bunny and them copying me we sit down and let the grandchild draw and I do my best fo copy theirs. It is a good experience for both of us. Funny thing...I almost always like their bunny best!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

When life hands you lemons.....

Rowdy Grandma has been a little self-absorbed over the last few months. Shortly after my last post in July I was diagnosed with severe COPD. It was surreal, I have always been so healthy and active...and very experimental in my art work. One of the biggest disappointments with this diagnosis is what it means for my approach to art. I decided it was best to take a few months off and regroup a little.

Most everything I do in the studio involves harmful materials - I burn a lot of my assemblage and collage work. I use chemicals to patinate metals, aerosal sprays to preserve my pieces. Resins, oil paints, turpentine and paint remover...they are all harmful to the respiratory system.

So, guys let me caution you...when you use questionable materials, either in your own work or the art you do with the grandkids, ALWAYS USE A MASK AND ADEQUATE VENTILATION!!.....IT MATTERS!!

Taylor with mask and gloves...he's ready to create!!
Oh, and of course cool, protective eye wear.

There are so many fabulous art materials to work with, I am now taking classes in drawing and watercolor...although I may never be able to completely substitute fire for water I have found a wonderful local teacher and hope this is an opportunity to turn lemons into lemonade and expand on the art I produce. I have completed some new works for local art shows and have not stopped working with the grandkids on their own art. I look forward to sharing lots of interesting ideas and kid projects with you over the next few months.

Here is a cool idea for displaying the rowdies art. If you are like me the front of your refrigerator is jam packed with art. One day I was looking for wall space to hang more kid's art....couldn't find any so I started tacking it to the ceiling of my studio.....the kid's absolutely love it!! If you don't have a studio ceiling a hall ceiling is a great place for it too...or try a spare bedroom, especially if it's the one the rowdies sleep in when they stay the night. They will love drifting off to sleep while staring at their own little masterpieces.

Monday, July 20, 2009

So many stuffed animals, so little time!!

Sarah, my 11 year old granddaughter from Arkansas, spent a week with me recently. She adores doing arts and crafts as much as I do, maybe even more.

Sarah with her new collection of creatures.

Everyday we did some kind of project. I taught her to use my sewing machine and together we created a menagerie of cool stuffed creatures.

Sarah, concentrating on her stitching!!

All it really requires is a whole bunch of stuffing material, plenty of old clothes to cut up and a few socks. Sarah made up a lot of her creatures by drawing them on the material with chalk.

Chalked mermaid.

She also looked through one of my favorite books on stuffed animals, Plush-O-Rama by Linda Kopp, and based some of her creature designs on those she liked from Linda's book.

That same week FaveCrafts asked me to submit a craft to their website, this gave me the idea to interview Sarah as a guest blogger and find out how she feels about creativity.

Stuffing a creature.

Here's what she had to say.
RG: What are your favorite colors?
Sarah: Green, blue and purple.

RG: Do you have a favorite art project?
Sarah: Probably stuffed animals, because I got to learn to use a sewing machine.

RG: What is your favorite part of being in the art studio?
Sarah: So many possibilities of what you can do, looking around at everything.

RG: What inspires you?
Sarah: Pictures in magazines for drawing; for stuffed animals just seeing them all in my room.

RG: What do you think is the most exciting part of a new project?
Sarah: Watching it all unfold and come together.

RG: Which stuffed animal is your favorite and how did you come up with the name.
Sarah: My favorites are Polly and Molly, I picked Polly because it's a fun name and reminds me of pink, I picked Molly because it rhymes with Polly.

Sarah, Polly and Molly.

Thank you Sarah, we had a great time crafting!!

Click over to FaveCrafts website to see my latest project called Bling Bouquet.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trip to Maine

The coast of Maine is beautiful. I just returned from Lubec, Maine... the easternmost point in the United States. I have a good friend who owns a cabin there, it sits across from the Lubec Channel, and is very close to the very picturesque Quoddy Lighthouse.

Dylan and Taylor in front of Quoddy Lighthouse.

It was a real treat to get away from the near 100 degree weather we are having in Texas. I took a couple of the grandkids with me..(ask me about road trips with grandkids)!!

Rusty, not admiring the beautiful view of the Porcupine Islands as he stands on Cadillac Mountain in the Arcadia National Park...but yearning to play the golf course he can see from the mountain, he played it the next day.

My husband, Rusty, and I survived,(and so did the kids); we had a really good time seeing another part of the country.

Taylor standing on the roots of this wonderful old tree on Sand Beach in Arcadia National Park.

My next trip is to Arkansas for Rusty's family reunion and a visit with the grandkids in Arkansas. Hoping to get back to art making in July. My how time flies!!!

My idea of heaven!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Flipped out!!!

As a mixed media artist I play with a lot of recycled objects. I have tons of flip flops in all sizes, each grandkid leaves at least one pair here every summer.

Lauryn and Lyndsey painting their silly shoes.

A couple of summers ago I decided to make a little art with these leftovers. The
rowdies have been anxious to make their own silly shoe art so this past week a few of them came over to Rowdy Grandmas and we made an "altered flip flop" which can be hung on the wall.

Lyndsey's flame shoe, Lauryn's buzzin' bee shoe.

For this craft all you need to begin is a flip flop - from there you can add anything you want to it. They come in really cool colors, so you don't even have to paint them. They can be very simple, glue on an image from a magazine, a color book or a piece or two of old costume jewelry.

Colorful flip flops.

My rowdies jump at the chance to paint anything, so we painted our flip flops. If the kids seem a little stumped about what to put on their shoe it's time for brainstorming. What is their favorite insect, what is their favorite thing to do, do they have a favorite doll or sport!!! Sometimes coming up with funny ideas is the best part of the project, it gets them talking and thinking.

Shoes with white primer paint.

Afer a little brainstorming Lauryn decided since she had a friend who likes bees her silly shoe would be all about bees. Taylor decided his dad likes to rides motorcycles so he would make his look like a road, and finish it off with tires he drew on paper. Lyndsey decided her shoe was goin' down in a maze of flames...and...well.... who knows why Lyndsey decides anything.

Taylor's road hog shoe.

All of the flip flips were first painted with a white primer or gesso. For Lauryn's bee we applied painters tape in a stripe pattern. The untaped area was painted yellow. Once that paint dried we removed the tape and painted the remaining areas black. It already looked like a bee!!

Taped shoe, ready for bee stripes.

She then drew pictures of bees, colored them in with colored pencil, cut them out and glued them to her flip flop with hot glue.

Lauryn's bees, so cute!!

Bees like flowers, so she hot glued a big flower to her shoe. We could have stopped there but we decided to take some wire, coil it around a pencil to shape it and add a bead to the end for antennas. The wire very easily slips into the rubber of the shoe, so just poke the wire in where you want it.

Wire for antenna, glued flower.

For all the flip flop projects we sprayed the final, dried paint with a clear acrylic apray so the paint would be sure and stay on. A note of caution, we sprayed Lyndsey's entire shoe with acrylic after we put the flames on. Her flames were drawn on paper, thin cardboard would have been a better choice, the acrylic spray made the paper flames a little limp. Lesson learned, on Lauryn and Taylor's silly shoe we sprayed the painted flip flop before applying the paper figures.

Two types of wire hangers.

There are several ways to make hangers for the "altered flip flip".

1. A length of wire approx. 4" length stuck into the top of the shoe in a loop fashion.
2. A length of wire approx. 2" length with each end bent up slightly and stuck into the back of the shoe, the best alternative if you don't want the hanger to show.
3. Just poke a hole in the back of the shoe near the top and hang it on a nail

So, the next time you are looking for a lazy day, summer craft just pull off your shoe and get to work!!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sarah's Tshirt tote.

We've talked about how much kids love getting their hands dirty, and making sure the rowdies wear an old Tshirt or overshirt while they are creating really messy art, (it's all messy!). How about incorporating the two...when my granddaughter Sarah visited from Arkansas we decided to take one of these old Tshirts and sew up her very own tote bag.

Sarah's tote bag.

This is not a new idea, I have seen lots of these done in various ways...just google how to sew a Tshirt tote, and you find all kinds of projects. I like doing these because they are such a great way to recycle and everybody has an old Tshirt.

Yardstick and chalk marking.

First thing to decide is how big you want the bag. Measure it out on the front of the Tshirt with a yardstick,(easy for the rowdies to use) and chalk, you may also want to measure and chalk the back. Sarah cut the front first,layed this piece down on the back and cut around it. Rowdies love to work with chalk, they love tools of all kinds of course they want to do the cutting. If you have a rotary cutter introduce the grandkids to this handy dandy little item...they are amazed!!!

Sewn strap, use a chopstick to turn it.

The straps are very easy as well, make them as long or short as you want by cutting strips from the Tshirt. When you have cut the strips of material place the right sides together and sew a seam. Turn the strap right side out, (a chop stick works really well for helping little hands work the strap back to the right side.) Sarah did a lot of the sewing of the straight seams on her bag, I sewed the straps on for her since it was a rather small area and had to be backstiched.

I am not going to go into detail on how to sew the bag, again you can google tons of ideas for sewing it up. The main thing I wanted to share was the way she chose to decorate it. We had a blast painting her hands in bright colors of acrylic paint and smacking handprints all over her tote, front and back! She then used dimensional paint to write her name on both sides of the bag. (We painted the Tshirt before we sewed it, it might be better to paint it after.)


If you have a favorite Tshirt with a cool logo just be sure you cut your bag to incorporate the logo, additional paint may be added...cause they have to paint! When Sarah wanted a second, smaller bag we cut pieces from other old Tshirts and sewed them together before we made our tote. For this bag we used an old sweatpant drawstring for the handle, you could also use shoelaces or ribbon for handles.

Scraps of Tshirts bag.

If the grandboys don't want to make a tote bag have them handprint a plain Tshirt they can wear, make a pillow to sleep on, or do a simple collage on construction paper. I do have a grandson who loves to sew and he has made several pillows, and silly creatures from old clothes.

Moo Cow design.
Acrylic paint on a pair of jeans, may also be done on a Tshirt.

Take a peek next week, I have two of the grandgirls with me for a few days and we are going to make one on our favorite projects......Altered Flip Flops!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Thrift store recycling.

Sorry dear readers I admit to having been in a technology slump the last few weeks. Honestly, I didn't realize it had been so long since I had posted. "My, how time flies when you are procrastinating".

Mixed Media group, hard at work!!

I have been involved in creating some of my own art and have attended a few classes as well. I belong to a local Mixed Media group. A lot of the members of this group are either Rowdy Grandmas or Rowdy Moms and are always giving me great ideas for arting and crafting. At the meeting last Saturday we all made jean purses from our old jeans, (the ones I brought were too small for me, a few claimed theirs were too large...yeah, right!!)

The beginnings of my jean purse!!

During the meeting we spent some time talking about using recycled materials in our art, such as the jeans. Mary Lynn, a fellow Rowdy Grandma showed us some items she has picked up at Goodwill. She purchases old pictures sold at thrift stores and reuses the canvas and frame for her own work.

Carla's purse with a decal she made of her dog and cute!!!

What a great recycling idea for all artists. In an older post I talked about taking the grandkids on trips to the thrift store and encouraging them to find something to use in their own art. I had not thought of looking through the old pictures..... kids love actually putting their work on canvas....this way it is already framed and if they like they can paint the frame as well!!

Remember bean and macaroni art? My next trip with the rowdies to Goodwill we will seek out a small framed canvas to fill with dried beans and gives them a chance to play with their food.

While at the thrift store pick up an old Tshirt and make a tote bag. My granddaughter Sarah and I did this a few months ago, next post I will share her Tshirt tote bag with you.

Please share your thrift store finds with me...I am always happy to have new things to search for when I make a trip to Goodwill, and would love to post some of your finds.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Chalkboard paint.

I love chalkboard paint, it can turn just about anything into a message board or drawing center.

Lauryn's jar.

This is a really fun paint to use on the wall in a child’s room or on a piece of furniture.The rowdies painted a storage chest I have in my studio and spend a lot of time drawing pictures and leaving messages there. We love chalkboard paint so much we decided to try it out on a few other projects.

Taylor and Lauryn in the studio.

Old shoe boxes and jars are wonderful storage items, if you paint them with chalkboard paint you can list almost everything you put into them…and if you change your mind, just erase and start your stash list all over again.

A few things to keep in mind when you paint on these surfaces.

1. You will need at least 2 coats, and it is best to let it dry for at least an hour before writing on it.(I sometimes put a coat of gesso on first as a primer).

2. Since you are crafting with the rowdies remember to have an old hair dryer ready so they can dry between coats…they adore this step in any painting project.

3. Brush on each coat in a different direction for a smoother coverage.

4. Wax paper is better than newspaper as a surface to paint on …Lyndsey turned her freshly painted box lid over on newspaper and it stuck…big time!!!

5. You may use bristle brushes, this paint does wash out with water. I prefer inexpensive foam brushes that can be thrown away.

Lyndsey's box top.

The coolest project we came up with is applying the chalkboard paint to denim.

Denim patch. Approx 5 1/2''h x 4"w

I cut up a pair of my old jeans; we made a pin out of one scrap and a big patch from the other.

Denim pin with gesso.

A coat of gesso was applied to the small denim piece used for the pin.
When dry we applied 2 coats of chalkboard paint, letting each coat dry. Since the pin is a small area we used chalk pencils which you can purchase at any craft store, they come in a variety of colors.

Denim pin. Approx. 2''h x 1 1/2"w

Attach a safety pin to the material and it becomes a really cute pin. This piece was sprayed with a matte acrylic spray so the chalk would not rub off. Be careful with the spray so the picture is not too diluted.

Denim pin with matte spray.

The big patch was not coated with gesso, we applied 3 coats of chalkboard paint. This piece is large enough to use regular chalk.

Big patch drawing!!

This is a great way to leave yourself a message or even use as a name tag. If you decide to try this project with the grandkids leave me a comment about how you decided to use it. I would love to hear from other Rowdy Grandmas!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Accidental Art

Something for you to ponder Grandma...learn to recognize art in the most simple, unusual and sometimes irritating moments. Strive to impart this attitude to your grandchildren (and your adult children). As a mom I remember getting upset sometimes when there was an accidental spill, or clothes were ruined by a good day of unexpected play. It's normal, and you can bet most parents still get bugged when the kids make a big mess. One of my jobs as Rowdy Grandma is to not get bugged, but to pat them on the head and say "that's okay, everybody makes what does that spilled milk look like to you, maybe a cloud, or a giraffe"??

rowdy handprints

A perfect example happens all the time in my studio...spilled paint. The rowdies and I now call it accidental art and we have fun with it. We have spilled so much paint on my floor it has now become a giant canvas. There are a few masterpieces we don't paint over but otherwise any of the kids can just pick up a paint brush and paint the floor.

Dylan's studio boy

When they spend time in the studio without me I am always pleasantly surprised at all the amazing things they come up with. The best are often the sweet notes they paint to
Rowdy Grandma, sometimes it brings tears to my eyes.

studio girl

Now I know you may not have a floor you want painted. My studio was once a garage and I have a concrete floor, (by the way I love concrete floors... four rooms in my house are painted concrete). But take it from me you can also paint a carpeted floor. I know this because when Dylan was younger he was painting his model car in the sunroom and dropped the paint jar. Wow, the pattern it made on the carpet was awesome...and he really dreaded telling me about this major about trouble from grandma!! He and I ended up making the most of it by taking some of the other paints and trickling them in similar patterns all over the carpet...he had created accidental art.

Heart America!!

Point being, Rowdy Grandma, try to lighten up and be the grandma who doesn't want to grow up!!!...and have fun with the grandkids!!

Taylor's major paint spill on the driveway.

Chalkboard paint is another really great paint for kids to use, next time I will show you a few projects you can do with the rowdies using this great product.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Planting tiny seeds.

There is a wonderful little set of books called Elf-Help. I picked up one many years ago in a gift shop. The title is Keep-life-simple-therapy. I refer back to this book very often. A quote I would like to share with you is one which reminds me of the difference we can make in the lives of our grandchildren...after all they are like the seeds we have planted in our life.

"Think small. Planting tiny seeds in the small space given to you can change the world - or at least your view of it". Linus Mundy

Even if I can not change the world I can change the lives of those around me.

I would like to thank Vibrant Nation for honoring me with the inclusion of my garden stake article in their fabulous website for Baby Boomers. If you have never seen this website you need to check it out, lots of good information.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Monster root!!

We have had some big rains in Texas lately. When the rain pours the creek behind my house becomes a raging river. The coolest thing about this is a lot of stuff flows down this river. As the water recedes it leaves behind all kinds of junk, this is where I pick up most of my wood scraps.

cedar stump

This past week the grandkids from Arkansas visted us. While we were scavenging the creek we ran across these wonderful cedar stumps with roots.

cedar stump with gesso

I know I have been a good influence on the rowdies when we all have the same idea.....hey, let's turn this into a monster face!!! So we did. First step was to coat the wood with gesso. The gesso coat makes the paint brighter.

Sarah's monster.

Each kid then painted their idea of a monster on one side of the stump using acrylic paint, it became a three-headed monster.

Marshall's monster.

When the paint dried we applied a thick coat of varnish to protect the paint.

Faith's monster.

And, oh yeah I have two more of these to play with. I guess I will paint my own monster face!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I'm a weiner!!!

I was lucky enough to get this Kreativ Blogger award from Tina Morton Part of the game is to name 7 things about yourself and name seven other people that deserve the same award.

Seven things about me:
1. I love my bulldog, Cinnabun....even though she snores.
2. I have a pet snake, Diana. I use her skin in my art projects..and share with my other crafty friends.
3. I have a pet rat named Spunkers who makes nests from snake skin and steals my pencils.
4. I recently retired from American Airlines.
5. I love wine and sometimes do wine tastings for friends.
6. I have four tatoos.
7. I in some way burn almost all of my art.

Seven people that deserve this award:

Amy Huff
Mary Perlow
Livia Hajovsky
Mad Mary Davenport has three fabulous blogs out there