Playing with Other People’s Toys

Recently, Caitlyn got a weekend with her grandparents and met her grandmother’s Saori loom. Sharing the results of her explorations was the very first thing she wanted to do when we arrived on Sunday evening to collect her. Then, because she was *that* excited, she insisted that I meet the loom as well. I may have spent the rest of the evening weaving. I had a small lap loom when I was a kid, and I remember generally liking weaving with it. I didn’t really pursue it beyond that, never really figuring out what to do besides repetitive stripes or …

Kids Art Week Wrapup

It took us more than the prescribed week, but Caitlyn and I did finish Carla Sonheim’s Kids Art Week video lesson series. Here’s a sampling of my favorites of our results: I painted this cross-eyed owl in the style of Jean Dubuffet. The process used salt as a resist with the watercolor, something I’d read about yet never tried (not really surprising since the amount of watercolor I do is pretty much zero). I really like the resulting texture! The black is an acrylic over the watercolor, something I doubt I would have thought to do on my own (mixing …

Apple Processing Day

Our backyard apple tree produced 14 pounds of usable fruit this year. It took two of us, with the ladder and some careful contortioning, to harvest nearly all of it. I don’t do anything to protect the fruit from the rest of Nature, no spraying and no little fruit socks. (I bought a package of fruit socks one year, and the process of getting one sock on one apple while I was still standing on the ground was challenging enough that I’ve never been inspired to try to do it from the top of a ladder.) The resulting fruit is …

Kids Art Week, Day 1

Caitlyn and I are following along with Carla Sonheim‘s 2016 installment of Kids Art Week. Five days of free how-to art project posts with each project inspired by the work of a famous artist. Caitlyn’s a good artist already, having produced some nicely drawn dragons last December. I like the idea of making more art myself, but I find myself frequently stymied by the blank page. One would think I’d have some clue how to handle that since I write a fair bit. Maybe it’s that I can call the writing “journaling” and string together free-association thoughts until there’s something …

Taffy Pulling, Because Science!

It started with an idle comment. It ended up a many-houred end-of-school-year sugar-coated event. This goopy stuff is homemade salt water taffy. An exploration of sugar, chemistry, and the relative strength of various arms. I gave the kids (Caitlyn and some homeschool friends) a short lecture about atomic structure, molecular bonds, solutions (and why it’s not a reaction), and what it means to be supersaturated. I’m never really sure how these little talks land with the kids; Caitlyn always says very positive things but the others are often so quiet I’m not at all certain anything sticks. I’ve decided to …

Thinking about Rocks and Time (Trail of Two Forests)

There’s something surreal about rocks that clearly show they were once liquid. Reading about lava flows is one thing. Sure, it says the rock was liquid, and I don’t doubt it. But getting up close to a rock, with all of it’s solid hardness, and finding a curved and rippled surface not unlike some cake batters kind of puts it in perspective. Once upon a time, this solid surface moved like water. You can see the ripples in this photo, at about the 2 o’clock position on the tree mold.  Roughly 2000 years ago, Mt. St. Helens erupted lava which …