Friday, August 31, 2012

Journaling about Older Photos

I've been unearthing a lot of old treasures recently, including pictures from when Steve and I were first dating.  I scrapped before we met (2002) and after we married (2004), but I stopped scrapping during the year we were dating and the year we were engaged.  I'd like to go back and get those pictures in albums.  I started with our first Halloween together.


I had so much fun cropping and arranging the pictures, choosing papers, and selecting embellishments!  It all came together so quickly and easily... until I got to the journaling.  I really struggled with what to say.  Do I write from the perspective of 10 years later?  Or, do I write what I would have written back in 2002?

It's tricky.  In 10 years, a lot has changed.  Steve and I got married, as did one other couple from the photos.  The only couple in the pictures that was married at the time have since divorced, and two other couples have separated.  Two friends have moved far away.  None of us get together for Halloween anymore.  In the end, I decided to keep my journaling fairly general, mentioning who was there and how much fun we had together.

As I scrap the rest of the pictures from 2002-2004, I'm sure I'll face this issue again and again.  I'd love to hear how all of you journal about older photos!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Crafts of My Childhood: Muppet Prestofix

Look!  It's one of my absolute favorite toys from approximately 1979 - Muppet Prestofix!  So fun uncovering another item from the depths of my childhood closet.  

 
It came with a variety of plastic tiles in different sizes and shapes (1600 pieces, according to the box).

 
I can remember spending hours and hours and hours playing with this.  I was surprised and happy to see that some of the designs I made as a kid were still in the box all these years later.  The kit came with instructions to make all the Muppet characters.  Here's Scooter:

 
I saved some of my original designs too.  Like just about every 7 year old girl in 1979, I loved rainbows.

 
And here's the rain that goes with the rainbow:

 
Trevor couldn't wait to give this a try.  I'm predicting many fun hours of building and creating together. 


For you parents, have you been able to pass your childhood toys down to your kids?  Any in particular that have stood the test of time?  

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Popsicle Stick Bald Eagle (and a Mythbusters Update)

Among the cool things I found in my childhood closet was this bald eagle craft.  



I have a vague recollection of making it at school, possibly in 3rd grade.  I am a proud alumna of Joe Michell Elementary, home of the Eagles.  I love that our teachers taught us about our school mascot.  

When Trevor saw my eagle, he wanted to make one.  (Of course.)  Supplies: 14 popsicle sticks, white glue, brown and cream paints, scissors, white cardstock, a yellow pen (or yellow cardstock), and a googly eye.  

 
The first step was to arrange eleven popsicle sticks to form the wings.  Trevor wanted me to break one stick for him so that the eagle's wingspan would be narrower.  In retrospect, I should have broken two sticks so that he could have hidden the break under the body of the eagle.  

 
Once the sticks were laid out, we put glue along the edges to glue them together.  (We did this on waxed paper.)  Trevor glued the other three sticks together to form the eagle's body.  We added a strip of cardstock to the wings to add stability and help join the broken popsicle stick.

 
Trevor painted the wings and tail feathers dark brown.  Then he added a bit of cream paint to the dark brown and used it for the eagle's body.

 
While the paint was drying, Trevor cut out a white head and yellow beak and feet.  He added a googly eye and glued the whole thing together.  Trevor absolutely loves his eagle! 




And now, a Mythbusters update!  Every day someone asks me if I know when our Mythbusters episode is going to air, so I thought it would be easier to write about it here than continue to tell you all one by one.  (Read here if you missed the original post about my upcoming appearance on Mythbusters.)  Brief clips from our episode are showing in a fall preview on both their website and the Discovery Channel, which is pretty cool.  The new episodes are going to start airing in October.  Exact dates have not been published yet, but as soon as I know I will spread the word.  I'm really excited!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Channeling Weird Al

Ready for another look at some of the stuff I found in my childhood closet?  This time, it's all the spirit songs I wrote when I was a camp counselor.  (Here's the first post if you missed it.)

In 1989, our camp theme was Extinct Animals and I was in charge of the Moas (along with my partner Noel).  

 
 
 
Noel wasn't particularly enthusiastic about writing Moa-themed songs, but my friend Nancy and I certainly were.  We wrote 9 different songs about Moas.  Two of them were based on Madonna songs (!) 

 We wrote two separate songs using the Flintstones theme:
 


My favorite is the one that used the theme from Rawhide.  Unfortunately, very few of our campers knew the theme from Rawhide, so as far as cheer songs go, it was a bust.
 
 In 1990, the camp theme was Ocean Animals.  Scott and I were in charge of the Dolphins.  
 
 
This song based on "Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys" still cracks me up.

 
I'm not sure where the chart from my 1988 Scorpio tribe went.  Hopefully it turns up.  I remember that we had some pretty awesome Scorpio-themed songs.

Were any of you camp counselors?  Did you make up wacky songs like these?  Ah, memories! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Toilet Paper Roll Aliens

I am a huge fan of crafting with toilet paper rolls.  They are so versatile... and they're free! In the past year, Trevor and I have used toilet paper rolls to make bunnies, penguins, owls, gift card holders, and fall napkin rings.  This time we used them to make aliens.  Here's mine.



As I've mentioned before, I like having a craft project available when Trevor has a playdate, especially if I know that the friend enjoys art.  I painted a bunch of toilet paper rolls with a variety of colors ahead of time, then gathered up paper scraps, googly eyes, foam shapes, pipe cleaners, scissors and glue.  When Trevor's classmate Sophia came over to play, I set out the materials and gave the kids free reign to make whatever aliens they could imagine.  

 
Here's Trevor's first alien.  



He ended up making two more.

 
Sophia made a robot-inspired alien. 
 
And Sophia's big sister Bella made a 10-eyed alien.  



I love seeing how different they all are!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Trevor's Unchained Reaction

I'm doing three things in this blog entry I also don't normally do.  I rarely post on Saturdays. I'm attempting to include a video for the first time (fingers crossed that it works).  And, I'm showing off someone else's creativity that had nothing to do with me.

Usually when I blog about something Trevor has made, I either made my own version along with him or, at the very least, I was with him when he made it.  Earlier this week, Trevor was in the garage playing while Steve was working on a project.  I was indoors.  I had no idea what was going on until Trevor told me to come outside and to bring my camera.

This is what I found:

video

Obviously, this isn't 100% Trevor's work.  Steve had to help Trevor hang the pulley and helped tie things together.  But the basic idea is Trevor's. He is absolutely obsessed with anything having to do with chain reactions and/or mazes.  (He had a maze-themed birthday party when he turned 4.)  Ever since Unchained Reactions aired, he has been making his own unchained reactions out of whatever he can find.

This kind of thing is about as far out of my comfort zone as possible.  I am not mechanically inclined and would never think to build a chain reaction.  Steve is very talented in that area, and it is obvious that Trevor shares his talent and interest.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

My Childhood Love of Miniatures

When I was 12, I made a dollhouse.  It was a 4-H project, taught by my friend Colleen's mom.  We each built a basic house out of wood during the first meeting, then spent the rest of our meetings making furniture and other things to fill the house.  

I certainly wasn't playing with dolls at age 12 (I didn't play with dolls even at the age when everyone else was), but I was obsessed with miniatures.  I loved making itty-bitty things.  I spent massive amounts of my free time making smaller versions of stuff.  (I am still in love with miniatures.  Remember the results from my Etsy Taste Test?)

While cleaning out my childhood closet, I came across some of the furniture from my old dollhouse.  And I have to say, the 40-year old me is TOTALLY impressed with the 12-year old me!  Here's a fireplace I made from construction paper, white glue, and gravel.    

 
I love this vanity.  I built the base with scraps from my dad's woodshop and scavenged the switchplate cover and screws from the garage.  (Remind me to do a post sometime about my amazingly talented dad who takes DIY to extremes.  Suffice it to say that his garage and shop are well-stocked with whatever a 12-year old trying to build miniatures could need.)  

 
The faucet is the top from a mechanical pencil!  I feel strange praising myself, but... awesome job, 12-year old Cindy!

 
When you lift the top off the base, you can see how I made the sink.  

 
Here's a cross-stitched clock for the wall.

 
I made chairs from popsicle sticks.

 
I don't know why my dollhouse had old-school flour and sugar bags, but they're awfully cute.

 
This didn't quite stand the test of time, but it's still a pretty cool chest of drawers.  

 
It's 4 matchbooks glued together, then wrapped with woodgrain contact paper.  

 
Here's my dining room table and chairs.



I spent a long time sculpting teensy food out of Fimo.  This is all that remains.  I'm not sure why this family keeps a popsicle on their tablecloth though. 

 
Two buttons glued together make a cake stand. 
 
And there was a vase that coordinated with each room.



Great.  Now I'm in the mood to make miniatures!  I do NOT need another craft right now!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Two Wheels

Over the years, I've used the occasion of Trevor's birthday to force him to give something up.  About a week before he turned two, I prepped him for the fact that on his birthday he'd be giving his bottles away.  He did not want to give up his bottles, but I didn't present it as a choice.  I let him pick out some special new sippy cups that he'd be allowed to use once his bottles were gone.  I didn't expect it, but he picked which baby he wanted to receive his bottles.  (That baby, Kieran, already had bottles, but his mom Holly did a perfect job of thanking Trevor profusely when he presented her with his collection of bottles on his 2nd birthday.)

On Trevor's 3rd birthday, we went cold turkey with diapers.  I'd already started potty training, but he wasn't all that interested, which was frustrating.  I made it clear to him that every diaper would be leaving the house on his 3rd birthday and I followed through with that.  That week was really tough (we mostly stayed home and did multiple loads of laundry each day), but within the week he was totally and completely potty trained.  

Fast forward to this past June.  For several months, I told Trevor that the training wheels would be coming off his bike on his 6th birthday.  He is a *very* cautious child and he was extremely nervous about biking on just two wheels, but he knew I wasn't kidding about the training wheels going away on his birthday.  I took him to a park with a straight, wide and level path and I repeatedly ran along with him as he tried biking on two wheels.  We did the same thing the next day.  I took these pictures on the third day:  



So proud of him.  Another major milestone!  

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Using Old Scraps and Bits

I've been going through my scraps recently, moving the small pieces to Trevor's art supply area.  I've been trying to use the larger items.  Here's an example:  


(Based on Shannon Zickel's "Eli Eli Oh")

This is Trevor with his kindergarten teacher on the last day of school.  Everything on this layout is at least 6 years old.  The letters, tags and background patterned paper are all from a (very old) kit.  As you might have noticed, there were no o's left, so I had to use circles.  The other patterned papers were all small scraps.  I used another scrap to cut out the apple.

It's amazing how good it feels to use up scraps.  It also feels pretty good to get those kindergarten pictures scrapped.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

First and Last Day of School

Trevor started 1st grade last week.  Here he is, ready for his first day.


I haven't done a lot of scrapping while Trevor has been on summer break, so while he was at school, I tackled some of the pictures that have been piling up.  Perhaps because school was on my mind, I made this layout with pictures from his first and last day of kindergarten.

 
I used my own Sketch #5, which I drew while I was sitting at the shore of Lake Alpine on July 4th.  



I'd imagined the layout being very simple (like the sketch). But as I added my long title, the dates the pictures were taken, and lots of journaling, the layout had a bit more going on than I'd originally intended.  I also shrunk the size of the circles to match the punch sizes I own.  I think I might try another layout using the same sketch to see if I can keep the simplicity of the sketch and use the larger circle sizes.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Swim Lessons

I love scrapping swim lessons!  Here's this year's layout.



Unfortunately, my scanner didn't capture the texture I stamped onto the circle.  And, the awesomely sparkly title letters seem flat and recede in a way they don't in real life.  Despite that, I really like the layout.  It's based on this sketch by Shannon White for the Scrapping Stamper Design Team.


There's no journaling spot on the sketch.  Normally I make a place for journaling, but this time I actually forgot!  A layout without journaling is so rare for me, but I like this how it is. I do have some things I want to say about this year's swim lessons, so I'll either journal on the back or I'll journal all the way around the perimeter.  

I am in love with the fish embellishments on my page.  I'd been struggling with what to put instead of the stars in the sketch, but nothing was working quite right... until I saw Leslie Davis' tutorial on the GCD blog.  She used leaves to make her fish - so adorable!  I had some mulberry leaves I'd misted orange that I used for the body of the fish, then I used the plain leaves for the tails.  I love how they turned out. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Artwork from the Closet Depths

As I mentioned yesterday, I recently visited my parents and spent most of my time cleaning out the closet in my childhood bedroom.  I can't believe the stuff I found.  Among the more interesting items, some watercolor paintings.

First up, a matted painting of a hippo.  I'm not sure when I painted this, but all the wrinkles in the paper mean it was obviously before I knew about watercolor paper.  Which means it was probably late elementary or middle school.  I'm not sure why it's matted.  I must have displayed it somewhere.

 
When I was about 16 or so, I took an 8-week watercolor class through 4-H, my first (and only) painting instruction.  I learned the basics, bought proper materials, and did a few paintings which are now hanging on my parents' walls.  (Note to self to photograph those one of these days....)

Apparently, I stored unfinished paintings in my closet.  I found this half-done picture, which looks really weird without any of the foreground.   

 
Taped to the back was this image, torn from a cruise brochure.  It's nice to know what I was aiming for when I started this!

 
I also found the start of an interesting United States piece.  There are 2 pages, each with 25 boxes.  The names of the states are at the top.  Some of the states have a painted image below that.  Others have a sketch.  Others are blank.

 
Here's a close-up of Maine.

 
And California.

 
I'm guessing I made this in late high school.  I have no idea why I did this.  I wish I'd finished it, as it's kind of cool.  When I asked my mom what I should do with these, she said to finish them.  I might, but probably not.  After a 22+ year break, it's hard to get back into a half-done project.  

Next I think I'll show you some stuff from when I was really into miniatures.  Stay tuned!