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.

watercolors and funky pants cards

battle field of color

We got the watercolor paints out again the other day. I LOVE watercolors. We haven’t been painting with them as much ever since I introduced the wonder of acrylic paint to Baby Bug. She thinks watercolors are for sissies now. Who wants to paint with the wimpy watercolors when there are messier, goopier, gooier paints to be had?!! So I had to hide the acrylics for a while.

not quite getting the dab first, blow second technique

Thankfully, if I seem to be having fun with the wimpy paints, Baby Bug is likely to join in the fun. So fun we did have! We blew the paint around the paper with straws and made funny many-limbed monsters like this green monster:

green monster

painting the marble

We painted marbles and rolled them around on the paper. That was a lot of fun. I read about doing this in an old issue of Wondertime Magazine. They have great photos that instantly sucked me in. I never even really read the directions but got the gist of what to do by just looking at the photos.

playing with negative space

Then we painted some leaves from our neighbor’s Japanese maple tree. It was a little tricky for Baby Bug’s little hands to hold the leaf still but that didn’t really matter. She’s more about the process than the end result anyway and anything that combines her love of paint AND leaves was a win-win situation for her. I think she would have painted every leaf on the tree if I would have let her.

sunset light

When we were done, we had quite a gallery of paintings to hang up on my make-shift drying line—that is actually the party lights we have strung from the rafters of our patio roof. I’ve been eye-balling the art gallery clotheslines (can’t find a link right now but I’m sure there is one somewhere) that many artistic mom-bloggers have been writing about lately but I’m a little short on wall space so the party lights will have to do. I actually liked the dangling art decorating our patio so I left it up for a couple of days.

cutting up the artworkpieces

It’s just fun to collaborate with her this way. I’m sure we’ll keep doing this for years to come but it will probably be more of a push and pull than it is right now where I just take over and do whatever I think is best.

glue is fun

We sliced and diced and then had some fun with the stick glue. Two hours later I made made a whole passel of fun little graphic cards. They are a little more modern than my usual fare but I like them.


I had father’s day in mind as well some sympathy cards for some relatives of ours. Toby’s aunt passed away earlier this week and I thought they might appreciate something that celebrates life but is not cliche like something you would buy at the grocery store. Toby’s got plenty of artists in his family so I think they will get it.

his side of the family

In fact, his aunt was quite the quirky artist herself. That’s her on the far left. Check out her pants. I didn’t know her well but I loved her because of those pants. That and her house was the most amazing house ever. I wish I would have taken pictures the two times I visited. I’m sure it’s been written up in a magazine somewhere. It’s that kind of house. She will be missed I’m sure.

2 sets of cards, 2 sets of postcards

So these cards are sort of a tribute to her and all the people out there who wear funky pants to weddings. I think she would have liked these cards.