Monday, February 23, 2009

"Go outside and play"

"Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives."......Thomas Berry

A swallowtail butterfly I raised from a pupa.

While I enjoy crafting in the studio with the grandkids I also make sure we spend time together outdoors. Funny thing is not all my grandchildren like spending time outdoors.

With all the computers, video games and the urbanization of our communities there is a new term being coined, "nature deficit disorder." A wonderful book about this trend was written by Richard Louv, it is titled Last Child in the Woods.

Most of us Rowdy Grandmas grew up at a time when we either lived on farms or in wide-open spaces or one our relatives we had plenty of exposure to tree climbing .....and idle time to spend in our clubhouses nestled deep in the vines and bramble bushes in the woods near our homes.

The natural world has a spiritual, calming effect on us. We need to feel the solitude, the wonder and the sun on our faces. But, think about it, constant contact and interaction is available to our grandkids.....can they stop texting long enough to look up at the clouds???......long enough to look out the car window???

I am a grandma so I accept the moniker "old fogey" gladly when I ask the kids to put their Wii, their cellphone, or their ipod down long enough to go outside with me to the creek behind our house and search for minnows, tadpoles and frogs.

No, this is not my creek...just a very peaceful picture.

Look at your own time spent with the rowdies and find ways to incorporate time outdoors....even if you have to yell..."go outside and play."

Monday, February 16, 2009

Jeepers Creepers where'd you get those eyes???

One of the reasons my grandkids love the studio is because it is a happy fact it's kind of a rule. When they get a little snippy with each other I remind them Rowdy Grandma's studio is for laughing, creating and acting silly ...there's no crying in crafting!!!

A very favorite way of keeping a cheerful mood is to play music, and it is usually the oldies. The perfect tune for the
Jeepers Peepers project is Jeepers Creepers by the Mills Brothers....we love it!!!

Lyndsey enjoying the music, and of course kids are crazy for glasses so she is modeling a pair of funky specs!!

Instead of making a pin from an eyeglass lens how about turning it into a necklace. Follow the instructions for the pin, the only difference is instead of adding a pin back twist a piece of wire into a figure 8 and use your heavy glue to attach it to the felt. When wire piece is dry add a leather or satin cord large enough to slip over the rowdies head.

A thin rim of white glue was applied around the rim of these specs and then sprinkled with glitter....when dry a photocopied picture of a peacock feather was glued to the lens.

If the you or the kids don't have the patience to wait for the glue to dry you may add the image to wet glue and glitter. Faith put her image on when wet and it spread the glitter onto more of the pin. It's beautiful.

Crumbled tree bark glued aroung the rim....a 2 part resin was poured onto the lens and the tree bark frame.

The frames of these
Jeepers Peepers were soldered.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Jeepers Creepers where'd you get those peepers???

Anyone remember that wonderful old song...Jeepers Creepers...for some reason it is one of those songs that has always stuck in my head. Kind of like Zippity-do-dah and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.

When I wondered what the heck to do with all of the old eyeglasses grandpa and I seemed to be collecting, that song came to my mind…soooo of course that is what I call this project. Jeepers Peepers.

The eyeglass lens generally pops right out of the frame, which leaves you with a perfect little piece of glass which is all ready for decoupage.

Materials needed are:

Eyeglass lens
White glue

Strong glue, such as E2000
Magazine or wrapping paper
Pin back
Felt or acrylic paint ......and a little pair of hands!!!

A lens is a very small area so when you sit down to look through the magazine for images, or select a wrapping paper, be sure and remind the kids to look at how tiny an area they will be working on ….small images may be faces, pictures of toys, flowers or animals. When they find the perfect image cut it a little larger than the lens so it is less difficult for small hands to work with.

For this project the glue is easier to work with if you pour a small amount into a jar lid and use a paintbrush to apply the glue to the back of the lens. Once the lens is covered with glue place the part of the image that will show through the glass onto the glued area and press out air bubbles. Then apply a layer of glue,with a paintbrush or a finger, to the back of the image and let dry approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Once dry, trim the excess paper around the lens with a small pair of scissors. At this step you may simply paint the back with acrylic paint and let dry. The rowdies and I like to use felt. Lay the tiny masterpiece down on the felt and use a sharpie or a piece of chalk to draw an outline,cut this shape out of the felt.

Test it to see how close you came, you may want to trim it a little before you glue the felt to the back, or wait til it is dry and trim.

Spread a small amount of strong glue on top of the entire paper backing, press the felt firmly onto the glue. This stage will probably take a few hours to dry. At this point you may glue your pin back to the felt, again using the strong glue, or you may prefer to glue the pin back on after the felt layer has dried. Note: for the buffalo pin we tried slitting holes in the felt and inserting the pin back through it, we then glued the felt and pin back on at the same time. This method hides and secures the pin back, but is more difficult to operate the pin closure.

If you chose to paint the back apply the pin back with strong glue once the paint is dry. Helpful hint: place the pin back high on the lens rather than in the middle so the pin will not sag when worn.

I have made many different styles of these pins. When crafting with the grandkids this is a very simple way to make them. Sunday I will post a few additional ideas you may want to use for this project….I will also post some pictures of the Jeepers Peepers I have made.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Folksy !!!

Yesterday I had the privilege of meeting a great group of women, many of them grandmothers and some of them great-grandmothers. These ladies are members of the 20th Century Study Club in Justin, Texas.

I had been invited to their monthly meeting to share some of my pieces of American Folk Art, as well as some information about folk art styles. Wow, was I impressed when I learned this club has been in existence since 1938. This kind of group is what makes American communities so important, for over 70 years these ladies have gathered together to form friendships and to help strengthen their local community. There were some wonderful conversations concerning their own collections and remembrances of folk art that had been produced or collected in their own families. Thank you ladies!!

In an earlier post I suggested kids seem to be natural folk artists, they can turn just about anything into art if encouraged. I would also like to encourage our generation to think in that way. Folk art came about when “common folk” began to have access to mass produced goods. Instead of throwing things away they found a way to make use of them.

An old jar became decorative when it was covered with putty or clay and odd bits of beads, buttons and memorabilia were stuck to the sides.

Bottle caps became kitschy ashtrays when strung together with wire.

Fabric scraps from old clothing became a useful bed covering.

And, as we all know popsicle sticks can be anything!!!

In the next week I will share with you one of my favorite recycled projects. What do you do with old eyeglasses??? turn them into
Jeepers Peepers of course!!!