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 theneonteaparty.com), 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.


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Georgia said... #

Wow, Cindy! You really do live a colorful life! You, Mark, and the grands are making some wonderful memories. P. S. Would you like another camper? ��

Charlotte M. said... #

What a wonderful week you all had. Look at all those happy faces.

Anne / Springleaf Studios said... #

You two are the best grandparents! I loved hearing about your art camp. So many good projects, especially the books. Wouldn't have thought that one would engage kids. My favorite though is Gabe's dedication to his Harry Potter curtain. What a great idea after seeing how is is used.

Robby said... #

What a fun week of trying new things and spending time together. I love how you and Mark go "all in" on things with the kids. You're teaching them great things about how to live a full life. I should also admit, I'm a teensy bit envious of this art camp thing. I just got to camp in the woods with bugs and hope my food didn't fall in the ashes.

Danette said... #

So fun and lots to learn!

Rochelle aka Bella Quilts said... #

This reminded me of the summers when I "babysat" the grand kids. For a while it was three then it became 4. Arts and crafts, library, parks, swimming, games (especially cards) and at the end of the day, they got 1/2 hour with a device so I could chill. I do miss those days. You had some extraordinary art projects going on there. Tie dieing was always a favorite...so messy but rewarding. Thanks for sharing and bringing back those good memories!

OPQuilt said... #

I can not believe I didn't comment on this. Okay--what an amazing pair of grandparents you guys are, from chauffeur to art lady to delicious meals, to having them spend the night. You win the award for winning their hearts. Bravo to you both!