Thursday, August 17, 2017

First Day of Middle School

Trevor started middle school yesterday. After six years at his elementary school, it was a big transition for my boy who is not a big fan of change. I'm happy to report that he absolutely loved it and is really excited for the year! 

As always, I took a picture of Trevor before school. When I dropped him off, I was feeling nostalgic about his first day at his elementary school, so when I got home, I found that photo from his first day of kindergarten. How fun to see how much he has changed! I wanted to drop everything and create a scrapbook layout with the two photos, but I don't have a photo printer and I only had about 10 minutes before I needed to start work. Fortunately, it took less than 10 minutes to make this:

Look at little 5-year old Trevor! So cute with his nicely combed hair, navy polo, and Lightning McQueen lunchbox. He's still cute, of course, but he's so grown up now.

So how did I make this? PicMonkey. Literally all I did was collage the two photos, open a blank canvas, add the corkboard background, place a white rectangle on top, insert the photos, add the text, resize the title, and then add the pushpin overlays. If you've never tried PicMonkey, I highly recommend you check it out. If you've tried it but it's been awhile, you might want to give it another go. They're adding new features all the time. I use PicMonkey practically every day and can't imagine my creative life without it.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

'Put Me In the Zoo' Costume

I randomly had an idea for a simple, literature-based costume for a preschooler based on Robert Lopshire's classic, "Put Me in the Zoo." Now that my niece lives out of state, I don't have any local preschoolers in my life. So I made the costume, brought it to Bandon, and hoped that Allison would model it for me. She did, though I had to snap photos very quickly. Look how cute she is!

And speaking of cute, here is Trevor reading the book to my godson (my cousin Tim's son), Teagan. 


Put Me in the Zoo Costume


  • yellow t-shirt (I used an adult medium for 4-year old Allison)
  • newspaper
  • acrylic paint (red, orange, green, blue, purple)
  • large spouncer
  • q-tips
  • yellow headband
  • yellow felt
  • scissors
  • hot glue


1. Put newspaper in the t-shirt so that the paint does not soak through from one side to the other. 

2. Use the spouncer to make painted circles all over the t-shirt. I did one color at a time, leaving spaces between them. 

3. Use a q-tip to fill in any circles that are not perfect. 

4. While the shirt is drying, cut ears from felt and glue them to the headband.

5. Turn the dry t-shirt over and add spots to the back. 

This simple costume is adorable as is, but you can add extra details if you want. Consider making a felt tail, or using facepaint to add a little black nose. So cute!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Glass Fusing at Sage Place in Bandon, Oregon

During our family reunion in Bandon, Oregon, the whole group went to Sage Place for a glass fusing workshop. Everyone, from the grandparent generation down to the 4-year olds, participated. It was awesome. 

The workshop was taught by Anne Sobbota, the owner of Sage Place. This charming studio hosts regular classes as well as workshops for groups or special occasions. Before starting our workshop, we browsed through the Discovery Center to view the glass versions of local flora and fauna. It's stunning.


Anne started our workshop by showing us sample projects and all of the materials we could use to design our creations. There were so many possibilities!

After further instructions, safety information, and helpful tips, she let us loose. Some of us chose to make fish, others made tiles, and the rest made coasters. 


Some had a design in mind, while others played with the materials until something beautiful emerged. 


Anne did a great job making sure everyone was enjoying themselves. She even had coloring pages and extra fish for the kids who finished early. 


Look at the concentration of 4-year old Teagan. Future artist, for sure! 

This is my work station. I chose a blue smiling fish and decorated it with yellow, lime, orange, and grey. 

We spent a little over an hour making our creations. When they were done, Anne put them in the kiln to fuse. Two days later, they were cool and ready to be picked up. Every single one turned out beautifully. 


If you ever find yourself in Bandon, I highly recommend doing a glass fusing workshop at Sage Place! It was great fun and surprisingly affordable. And now we each have a special souvenir from our time together. Thanks again to Anne for helping make our family reunion even more memorable.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Bandon, Oregon

Every few years, my extended family meets up for a reunion. This summer, we rented a large beach house in Bandon, Oregon. It's a good midpoint for my cousins' families in Washington, my sister's family in Idaho, and my parents and us in California. We were there for six nights. 


The house we rented was just steps from the beach. 


Trevor (age 11) and his cousins (ages 16, 14, 8, 6, 4 and 4) spent countless hours there, exploring, climbing rocks, playing in the sand, and building things out of driftwood. 


The adults had plenty of beach fun, too. I asked my sister and cousins to pose for a group photo so that I could create another Cousins layout and this is what happened. That's my cousin Matthew with his arms around my sister Kari and me. My cousin Tim is the one making bunny ears. I did end up with a nice pose of us all, but there's something charming about this one. 

Some of us collected rocks to make beach art. It's hard to get a sense of scale from the photo, but this heart is about 5 feet wide. 

We played a lot of games, both inside and out.  


And, of course, we explored the town of Bandon. It's an art-lovers' paradise. 


During the summer, children's artwork is displayed along the boardwalk for all to admire. 


I have never seen so much public art in one place. It's wonderful. Local artists' work is displayed in the library and other community buildings. Bandon has quite a few private art galleries as well, including one special one we visited. I'll tell you all about that tomorrow. 

While everyone had their own personal favorites, we all agreed which art was the most impactful:

Take a closer look. This huge fish is made entirely of items that have washed ashore in Bandon. 

Washed Ashore (Art to Save the Sea) creates gorgeous sculptures to educate people about plastic pollution in the ocean. It is very, very powerful. 


Powerful and beautiful. 


Some of it was even interactive. You can use a piece of rubber pipe to create music by tapping the bottles in this sea star. Or, you can raid the bins of plastic that washed ashore to make your own artwork. 


We enjoyed visits to the Bandon Historical Society Museum (be sure the kids do the fun scavenger hunts!) and the Coquille River Lighthouse


We ate most of our meals at the house, but we made multiple trips to Face Rock Creamery for their amazing ice cream. This is a $2 child-size scoop!! I can't even imagine what the single and double scoops looked like.

Tomorrow I'll tell you about the art project the family did one afternoon in Bandon.