Thursday, July 30, 2020

Really Random Thursday, 7/30/20

Is it just me, or has July seemed like two months long?

I don't have much this week, probably because we required some rest and relaxation after art camp last week. That doesn't mean we didn't enjoy every single minute, because we did. But given COVID-19, it was a lot more activity than we have been used to!

A week and a half ago, we sadly said goodbye to Stacie as she moved back to Oregon. She has been here for seven years and is definitely part of the family. Aaron and Christa hosted a goodbye party for her the day before she left, with donuts, her favorite. This was our goodbye hug (although lucky for us, because we are in the same "bubble," we had been able to have her over for dinner before this and give her an actual hug).

That weekend, I would have ordinarily been in Minnesota for my annual quilt retreat. Thanks to the magic of Zoom, we were able to retreat together virtually on Friday night for about three hours, and then again on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (my time). It was awesome--not nearly good as being together in person, of course, but special just the same. And we decided there was no reason we couldn't do it on a regular basis. I set up my computer on the corner of my sewing table and actually got quite a bit accomplished.
Most everything else to follow is just a collection of memes from the last couple of weeks.

Turns out, as a confirmed introvert, I actually feel the need to go out!!

From my friend, Paula:
 Noticed by Doris during lunchtime break.
My brother works for the federal reserve in Washington, DC. I asked him about this. He confirmed it--the coin shortage, that is. I  may or may not have started a swear jar...
 True again.
My friend, Molly (@tokodots) designed this. I'm considering installing it as wallpaper on my phone.
Finally, last night, Mark and I really needed a break, so we drove to Shaver Lake (about an hour away) for dinner--delicious hamburgers, out on the deck (where it almost felt "normal"). Then we took a drive around the end of the lake, found a quiet spot and read for about 45 minutes. It was just what we needed.

What have you been doing to take care of yourself?

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Wiens Art Camp 2020

Wiens Art Camp 2020 is officially over. We had such a great week!

It began last Monday morning with the shuttle driver showing up to pick up the campers. Christa made a funny comment on Instagram: "I feel like the picture doesn't do it justice. It should be noted that it's a polo shirt, exercise shorts, and Keen sandals. Basically, Mark played dress-up in the best way...and I think I know where Aaron got it now.

Tie dyeing was the first activity on the agenda.
 One should always wear a unicorn bike helmet when tie dyeing.

I must recommend The Neon Tea Party, where I purchased the tie dyeing kit. It came with everything except for the things to dye, although four white handkerchiefs were included. I had purchased white t-shirts, some socks and art smocks for everyone. Levi wasn't really interested in dyeing something for himself, but he dyed a couple of things for me.

I made some quick postcards after camp on Monday, so Tuesday the first order of business was to send a camp postcard to their parents.
The project that consumed Gabriel for three days was making a curtain for his bunk bed. I might have mentioned that he is slightly over-the-top obsessed with all things Harry Potter. After tie dyeing, he immediately wanted to begin the project he had designed all by himself. He pulled out a little piece of paper from his pocket with the measurements that he needed and we set to work. He explained his vision--a Platform 9 3/4 that he could jump through just like in the book. He pulled out all my brown fabrics, mostly solids with a few prints thrown in for interest, and explained that it needed to look like bricks. We decided on the size of the bricks, 6"x 12". I started cutting and he began putting things on the design wall. We inserted a white square for the "9 3/4".
He did all the sewing, and then he grabbed a plate from the kitchen, marked a red circle and wrote
9 3/4. It took most of three days, and then I added the backing. Mark got a tension rod and I turned over the top of each curtain to make a rod pocket.

On Wednesday, we installed it on his bed. I'm not kidding when I say how impressed I was with this project. He had a vision, knowing exactly what he wanted, and made it happen. It was so much fun collaborating with him and I hope for a lot more opportunities to work with him. He has such a creative imagination.

Ella was my biggest challenge. It was hard to find the thing that tickled her fancy. I think she enjoyed tie dyeing. I had her make pompoms; well, at least she counted the revolutions. I saw a little pompom ice cream cone somewhere so I cut out a felt "cone" and we put the pink pompom on top. She stated that it needed a cherry on top, so together we made a little cherry pompom.

I had all the kids at least try basic pompom making (you can find great tutorials at, and one of these days we will advance to the fun ones--stripes, speckles, etc.
I got a couple of great ideas from Apricot Polka Dot, including decorating sunglasses. So at the last minute, I made an order from Amazon for ten white plastic sunglasses and a selection of puff paint. The order arrived in less than 24 hours, and when I told Ella about it, she actually clapped her hands. After showing her how to make little dots with the paint, she ended up almost immediately losing interest. She painted a pair for herself--black--and a pair for her friend, Amelia--pink. Charlotte, however, got quite creative and her sunglasses turned out really cute.

 Ella was the biggest challenge this year, so we ended up letting her chill most of the time, play on devices and watch TV, and she was pretty happy. In the next couple of weeks, after the intense summer heat, I'll have her over again and we will do some activities outside, because honestly, being outside is what makes her the happiest.
The older kids, meanwhile, designed and made some fused glass projects. It was one of Levi's favorite activities. I think he and Gramps have some future sessions planned. He picked up cutting, cleaning and assembling very quickly.

Gabe and Charlotte also enjoyed the time in Gramps' glass shop. I bet you can't guess which one is Gabe's...

Charlotte made some small things that will become earrings and necklaces, and Levi also made the scrappy glass plate.
At the end of the week, we discovered folded book art. It wasn't even on the initial class schedule. I purchased some books at the thrift store for $1 apiece, downloaded some patterns from Etsy and some free sites, and the three older ones spent the remainder of art camp measuring, marking and folding.

Charlotte did a couple of books (and she has already completed a couple more). Her first book was Mickey Mouse.
Levi nearly completed the Star Wars logo (it's done now, and he has started on a second book).
Gabe's H-P from Harry Potter had the most pages, 304, and I thought he would run out of steam before completing it, but again, he was focused.

I highly recommend folded book art. The kids loved it, and even yesterday I made another trip to the thrift store to purchase some more books.
Levi also spent quite a bit of time with Mark doing projects around the house and yard. Mark really enjoys working with him. He is at a great age to be very helpful.

Each day, Charlotte (often with Ella's assistance) made something in the kitchen. She started with popsicles,

moved on to macarons,
 rice krispy squares with the addition of fruity pebbles (twice),
 and ended Friday with Key Lime pie and homemade whipped cream.
Mark and I both agreed that our favorite part was lunch every day. Mark had made a menu ahead of time, which accomplished two things--we knew what the plan was and it kept the kids from asking all morning "What's for lunch??"
Mark is a pro at making crepes, and that is what was on the menu for Monday. They are kind of a family tradition, and we always have them for Easter, as well as other times during the year. This year, because of COVID-19, Aaron had to make them for Christa and the kids since we couldn't have Easter dinner together. And during art camp, Mark taught Charlotte how to make them as well.

We ate lunch every day in the dining room, had the best conversations and lots of laughter.

On Friday, they spent the night, so in the afternoon Mark got out the slip-n-slide (probably Ella's favorite event of the week).

Charlotte opted for the jacuzzi.
And before we knew it, Saturday morning had arrived. We had bagels outside.

It was the best week. These four grandkids are the lights of our lives, and they are growing up so very fast, so we savor every minute that we can spend with them. There were activities on the list that we still need to try, so I'm sure we will have some more art sessions in the weeks to come.