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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Painting Rainbows

I am the first one to admit that I am a "bad" painter.There is actually a museum of bad art:
 However, for some reason I can't stop painting.  I love to begin and get into painting but I can never really "finish" them.  When I get the itch to paint, I have to scratch it.  My oils are buried in the garage and I didn't really fell like setting up an easel so I turned to watercolor. 
I got these water soluble pencils years ago.  I love them but I always too much water and drown out the colors.
I had two sets of watercolors: translucent and opaque.  I activated them by putting a few drops of water on each pigment pan.  I remember teaching kids how to do that when I was an art teacher.  They always seemed surprised by how much easier than is that jamming a wet brush into a dry pan. 

I had a couple of really heavy pieces of watercolor paper already cut from a big sheet.  I remembered all the cold pressed and hot pressed sheets I used to keep on hand when I first started painting at 15.  None of it was cheap.

After making a couple of random rainbow studies, I was out of paper.  I think that I'll end of cutting up the paper and maybe making the painters into tags.  Or I might collage on top of the paper.  Whatever. It doesn't matter. It is art for art's sake.  I feel like I haven't been very productive this summer. No scrapbooks completed or school decorations.  Yet I have about a month and I am finding inspiration everywhere!
My niece Sydney and I took this selfie at Sea Base.  We loved the color scheme.  My classroom theme is tie-dye rainbows so I was thinking this would be a cool idea for a bulletin board!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Juicing Wheatgrass without a Juicer

Only a few weeks ago, I ordered wheat grass seeds from Amazon.  I actually got them for free from my Bing Reward points. (I do Bing searches everyday and then I get a $5 Amazon gift card for every 450 points.) The seeds came quickly.  I used organic soil and washed out an old ceramic pot.  I soaked the seeds for a day and then planted them.  I covered the pot with a sheet of plastic wrap. The seeds spouted very quickly and turned into a beautiful plant.  However, I wanted to juice the wheat grass for the health benefits.  

I looked at many hand crank juicer models.  The cheapest was still about $40 so I looked into alternatives. I saw the idea of just using a mortal and pestle and loved it. I do not want another useless gadget cluttering up my house.  When the wheat grass was about five or six inches, I grabbed a handful and cut it.  

I rinsed the wheat grass out in the sink.  Check for mold if you are in a humid climate.  I started pounding the wheat grass using my marble mortar and pestle.  I have a wooden one also but the marble on seems to work better and quicker.  I kept pounding until I had a mush-like texture.

After pounding and pounding, I then squeezed the pulp to get the juice out into a glass.  You can also add water to the mix.  You do not get a whole lot of liquid from the grass.

I read that people can have a bad reaction from too much wheat grass at one time so I took a small shot.  Guess what it tasted like? GRASS!  It wasn't a horrible taste but I chased it with some water.  I didn't have any adverse results.  I did feel good but I had also been to the gym and started new vitamins so I can't say it was directly related to the wheat grass.  I feel like I am going to be doing a lot of juicing today because the remaining wheat grass seems to be turning yellow.  I have more seeds so I'll plant another crop soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bug and Garden Party

Jackson and Sydney's party was a great success!  Although the day started out hot and sunny, there was a sudden rain storm right during the cake.  Luckily, the tents did not blow away.
Here the favors for babies and small kids. Looking back the buckets were cute but filling them got expensive.  All of the favors were from Dollar Tree.  We basically stocked them with bug houses, magnifying glasses, bubbles, water guns, and candy.  For the two baby guests I bought stuffed bugs for them.  We also had some glow sticks and wands in each basket.  I was careful to avoid anything that kids could choke on.  I did add the tissue paper flowers, stickers, and wrote each child's name with a white Sharpie paint marker.  
My sister did the food table inside due to the heat and humidity outside.  Many of the decorations are from the Dollar Tree and Dollar General.

We had two tents. During the storm, the wind was so strong that they were in danger of blowing away.

Pool area

This was a Pinterest idea that my sister saw.  Mama C. brought the two hardback books for guests to write a special message for each of the kids.  Many people also have the teacher sign the book at the start or end of each school year.  Then, when the child graduates, the parents present the book.  As you can see, we tried to have bugs and flowers everywhere to stay with the theme.

Jackson's bug cake

Cake display table.  I described how I made the photo display in the decorations post.

Sydney's flower cake

My sister got ten helium balloons and I tied regular balloon where I could.  

Jackie with mama and daddy.  He grew four inches in one year!

Jackson and Jackson are ready to do the pinata.

Ah, Syd loves her auntie Uno!

Pap, Mimi, Jackson, and Jackson

Aunt Bonnie made the daisy crown.  It was a hit.  As Syd was trying to blow out her first birthday candle, the wind really started.  Soon after, it started to pour.

We moved present opening to the inside.

Finally, the pinata!

There was a water balloon and shaving cream battle while we were inside doing presents.  (So that's where all the guys were!)  We ended up skipping the games due to the storm.  However, Jackie reported that he had a great time. He also wanted to have a party the next day.  He will have to wait until Halloween for his next awesome party.