artsy fartsy,  Bug,  painting

Meet Tweet.

Meet Tweet

Greetings from the sick desk. Funny how last week I couldn’t wait to write about all the fun we had with the alpha+mom projects but now that I’m slogged over the head with the snots, all I really want to write is, “Hi. See you next week. Pass the Kleenex.”

But I wouldn’t do that. I’ll just drink my big cup of coffee and plow on through. Coffee is my answer to everything and yes, I know I would probably feel better if I stopped drinking it. But that’s not going to happen. At least not this week with the time change screwing with my head. If I ever stop drinking coffee you’ll know I’m either very sick or pregnant.

So! Onwards!

Last week we made a paper maché turkey. It was a blast. So sloppy and messy yet fulfilling. I took a sculpture class at our local community college a few years before Bug was born and I always forget how much I love working in 3D. You think you have it perfect and then you turn your sculpture a few degrees to the right or left and lo and behold there’s an arm where a belly button should be!

It’s challenging but freeing at the same time. I think it works parts of your brain that wouldn’t normally be used. Sort of like that drawing-upside-down trick. If you can turn off the voices in your head that tell you a house should have a triangle roof and the sky should be blue, then your artwork comes out ten times better than you expect. Bla bla bla.

Bug and Tweet

This post is not about left brain vs. right brain, it’s about Bug’s turkey! Her turkey was green OF COURSE!!!! We named him Tweet. Cute, no?

up to our mousy ears in paper maché

I had to sort of “fix” her floppy strips of soggy newspaper when she wasn’t looking but she definitely got into it. In fact later in the day she kept referring to our “balloon newspaper” project over and over. I think it made a big impression on her. Kids really don’t care about the end result. It’s all about the process. And believe me, this process is about as hands-on dirty as you can get. I’m glad we didn’t have any permanent pigment thrown into the mix or it might have been a little too much mess even for me.

The thing I didn’t realize is that when flour and water and salt combine and then dry they really do create glue. Glue that sticks to your patio and carpet until you get down on your hands and scrub it off with a fork and eight gallons of elbow grease! Shizer! I still have bits of white crud stuck in my carpet and I had company on Friday that I had to clean up for! It was bad.

So, that is my warning to you: If you want to do paper maché, stay on top of the drips and drops and don’t let them harden and become tomorrow’s worst enemy. Maybe it’s not that bad. I just don’t like cleaning as much as I like making messes so I wish I had been more mindful as I was going along. I’m so used to just hosing paint off our patio with no effort that I didn’t really expect the hard labor scrubbing that came later.

One other thing: Paint. We were on a deadline when we did this project so I didn’t really have enough days to let things completely dry and harden. Then on top of the birds not being completely 100% dry, I used cheap kid paint to paint them. I think the water content in the kid paint is higher than my regular acrylics and that didn’t work well for me. It actually weakened the paper structure and when I punctured my turkey with the wire for feet, the balloon inside contracted and sucked the turkey in with it. It was a panic moment.

Thankfully, I was able to cut a large enough hole to fit my hand in and mold the turkey body back to it’s original un-dented form. But it was a close one. I think if I was working on something smaller, it would have been doomed. My second bit of advice, let it dry completely and use the good paint.

painting... her hand

Since we let Bug’s piñata sit for an extra day, it was fine. No crazy sunken-head birdy for her, good thing! We painted him up, glued on some googlie eyes, a paper beak and some feathers and he was done.

adding detail

I let her color on him with a Sharpie (I love living on the edge!) and she promptly punctured a hole in the poor bird with her pen. Then later when I was off doing dishes or something and the birds were sitting on the coffee table on display, she pulled off all Tweet’s feathers and stuffed them in that same hole.

What can you do, right? Kids will be kids. All I can say is that it was a fun project and it used up several hours that would have otherwise been wasted watching tv.


  • Jennifer

    Thanks Gayle for mentioning banner. I refreshed and I love it too.

    I’m sorry you’re still feeling icky. Head colds are terrible, there is no escaping your head.

    I love Tweet. He reminds me of my favorite cartoon character, Peep. Thanks for all the paper mache tips. That does look like a lot of fun.

    It’s kind of funny that you were writing about sculpting. I was in the thought chamber, I mean shower, this morning and I was thinking about soap carvings. I had to do soap carvings in Jr. High and I had a really hard time making anything by removing. Then I started thinking how I’m better at making things by adding. So then I was like, what’s the adding to art called? Ah yes, Sculpture! That’s how my brain works in the shower. Then I leave the shower, kids are all over me and I can’t even remember their names.

  • Kate

    1. LOVE the banner. So stinkin’ cute.

    2. I remember doing “newspaper balloon” projects when I was a kid too and loving it. I was older than Bug but still had a great time. I’ve had the thought tucked in my thought pocket for a while and am waiting until just the right time to do it with my kids.

    3. Sorry you’re feeling cruddy. Hope the coffee helps and cures what ails ya!

  • Kuky

    Looks like something Isabelle might enjoy. But maybe not. She didn’t want to touch the sticky pumpkin guts. But I think we’ll give it a try, just need to get some newspaper…

  • BeachMama

    I love Tweet. And am so glad you warned of the mess. I was hoping to try some paper mache with J as he was asking about it, but I think I will borrow some of my Dad’s drop sheets first.

  • margalit

    LOVE the new banner. Best one ever! It captured you guys perfectly.

    I’m a big lover of the paper mache and have made a lot of pinatas myself. You can do really cool stuff if you get different shaped balloons and not just round ones.

  • Melissa

    Loving the new banner. Get over the ills…we’ve got something here too and can only pray it isn’t a permanent condition like the doc thinks. Tweet is adorable…so are Tweet’s makers! You guys seriously need a large tarp. Roll it out…do your projects…wipe it down…roll it back up. The thought of paper mache’ in the house gives me hives…and I’m 35 and would be doing it alone! That said…I really have to try paper mache’ sometime…don’t know how I’ve missed out all these years.

  • gingermog

    Hmm I wonder if you caught my cold? We’re full of the coughs and sneezes at Casa de Ginger. I have a love hate relationship with coffee too. I rely on the golden nectar to get me going in the mornings and power me through long days but I also get the feeling that it’s stopping me sleeping at night too. Time to turn to decaf?

    I love the tweet. I Just adore papermache. Hey maybe you could devlop some into pupper heads and make simple cloth bodies for hand held puppets?

  • Allison

    Love her smock, did you make it???? Trying to find a great reversible pattern for my little girl, care yo share???

    p.s. don’t know how I found your blog but just a mystery reader that now reads it daily!

  • OMSH

    Apparently she is a natural artist. Who says that feathers are supposed to be on the outside of a bird? Why not the inside? And why shouldn’t birds have holes? I mean if we are thinking outside of the box (circle?), it is all very freeing. :)


    Though I’m not sure how free a bird with no feathers could be.

  • Clownfish

    Your turkey is great. I totally loved the shot from a previous post where the turkey is hanging upside down on the patio! – It made me smile.

    You banners are always fun and upbeat. But as a fish and aqua-dude, my favorite has been the under the sea version with the seaweed!

  • bluejaye

    I advocate making two of everything…one to meet our adult sensibilities and one they can do to theirs with no judgement from us.

    As we say at our house…..what happens when you experiment? They don’t always work out.

  • lynne

    Pssst I have a brand new nephew called Sebastian brought into the world shortly after the last poll was in. I am so happy I have to share it :)

    Have a great day.

  • Red Lotus Mama

    You are so dang creative … I LOVE IT! Bug looks like she had a blast. And it is like you said … it is about the experience, not the end result that really matters to kids.

    BTW … loving the new banner!

  • gina

    cool project and super adorable little girl.:) Love her “eba eyes” from the first post. I liked reading about your estate sale – glad it went well. :)