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Girl Scouting is My Bag

24 Oct

This weekend I went with my little buddy on a Girl Scout Camping trip.  This trip was right up my alley because we visited a colonial village where we got to try our hands at all sorts of traditional crafts such as candle dipping, butter churning, weaving and writing with a quill and ink!  Before going on the trip we had some crafting of our own to do – making  swaps!  Swaps are little objects such as beads, buttons, origami and anything else you can think of attached to safety pins.  Girl Scouts make about 50 each and bring them to camping trips like these in order to swap with their friends and collect all the different ones; hence the name “swaps.”  We had a pretty hefty crafting set-up:


This is a great craft for using all the leftover scraps you may have saved from other crafts.  I used a penny, a seashell and a scrap piece of fabric to get us started.


First, I put a dollop of hot glue on the penny and placed it on the back side of the fabric.



Then I put some glue on the penny and folded in all the fabric edges to make a diamond.


Lastly, I flipped the diamond over to the clean, non-gluey side, hot glued a pretty seashell on top and glued a safety pin to the bottom.  Ta-da!


We continued cutting and hot-glueing away, pairing together pretty random objects until we ended up with this lovely assortment:


Lots of use out of those bottlecaps!

And a high five for a job well done 😀


Check out my sweet girl scouting t-shirt!

After a four hour drive out into the woods the swapping began!


 Now, a hundred years ago when I was a kid it was all the rage to pin your swaps to a hat like a fisherman.  It seems the cool thing to do now is pin your swaps to a lanyard around your neck.  Kids these days. 😉


After the swapping was complete we checked out other crafts.  Here we are learning to churn butter.  The woman in the picture told us it would take about 2 hours to make one cup of butter by hand!



We also learned how to write with feathers that come from turkeys and geese.  I have a whole new appreciation for my ballpoint pen!


Lastly, we got to learn about my favorite craft: weaving!  This type of weaving was done on a very small, hand-held loom which was great for learning.  The kids learned all about the warp and the weft and the shuttle.   You can find an in-depth weaving tutorial in one of my earlier posts here.



I was a Girl Scout for many years so this was a great way to re-live the experience and spend some time out in nature.  Visiting the colonial village reminded me that although most of my crafts are a luxury, the whole concept of crafting began out of necessity to make the things we need in order to survive!


The Art of Recycling

10 Oct

Happy Columbus Day!  After a week long hiatus due to moving and some re-decorating, I am back in action!  Over the weekend, I helped my local elementary school spruce up their recycling cans!  This was a hands-on project for the kids in order to help them learn the importance of recycling and how it can benefit their school.

Remember, only decorate your trash cans if you take them to the dump and/or recycling center yourself.  They may look pretty, but the city won’t be able to collect your trash if it’s too beautifully disguised!

The first thing to do was hose down and wipe dry all the cans.  No surprise there!


Next, I used typical house paint to paint the cans a solid color to work with as a background.  I painted one light blue and one green.  You could use acrylic paint for this as well, but house paint is definitely more cost effective.


After the background colors were completely dry, I assigned one of the cans to the kids to go to town on.  It was like a painting frenzy, especially once I broke out the metallic silver and hot pink paint!  I think something about being outside in the sunshine and painting something that isn’t a piece of paper really got their creative juices flowing.

The kids recognized right away that this was a collaborative piece of art and did a beautiful job working together to create a cohesive and colorful piece.


Here is their finished product from all sides!

While supervising the kids, I worked on my own can to get across a slightly more concrete message about recycling.


I also painted the words ‘cans’ and ‘plastic’ on the top so everyone would know which is which!


And the finished product!

Luckily, we still have two more trash cans to paint another time so stay tuned for more trash can art!  It’s good to be back 🙂

Abbot Kinney Street Fair

29 Sep

Over the weekend, I attended the Abbot Kinney Street Fair in Venice, CA!  The fair celebrates the unique neighborhood of Venice by showcasing local artists, galleries, shops and restaurants.  There are all sorts of fun activities for kids and adults alike.  I volunteered at the festival and worked in the mural tent.  An artist named Ricardo Aguilar designed a giant, black and white, abstract mural and hung it on a wall outside for the kids to paint.


Painting in progress!


There was also a coloring tent for kids to color individual pictures from the mural.


The painting hanging inside the coloring tent is the mural from the street fair last year! The artist is a really interesting man who wants to start an “art revolution.”  He strongly believes in the healing, connecting and peacemaking powers of art and thinks that children are the vehicle through which the world can achieve these things.  To this end, he asked all the kids to leave their drawings to be hung up and eventually made part of a more permanent installation.


Ricardo's picture for the kids to color

His self portrait is in the bottom right corner and he actually dresses like that except instead of bullets in his belt he has crayons!  Here are some of the drawings hung up for all to enjoy:


It was really great to see kids and adults alike dive in and get their hands dirty with the mural.  Collaborative work is some of the most rewarding art because is fosters a low-pressure, inviting and welcoming environment where people of all levels of artistic ability can meet on equal footing.


Getting her hands dirty!

And the almost finished product:


Featuring Ricardo himself!

I couldn’t stay to see the completely finished product, but this is pretty close and it is just beautiful.  Thanks to all the kids and adults who helped make it happen and as Ricardo would say, come join the color revolution!