Monday, February 29, 2016

Homer Winslow Boats, Chalk Pastel Lemons, En Plein Air

I found this project on  It is a Winslow Homer project that third grade did.  We discussed his life and his work.  He had numerous mariner pictures and his work was done in a realistic style.  The students sketched the ships in pencil and then painted with tempura.  I realized after that we did not quite finish them today, so we will go back and add a bit of line where the horizon meets the sea, some clouds and some seagulls.  I think that will help personalize the pictures a bit.  Their paintings are always whimsical to me and I think kids have a sense of freedom that adults lose because of self consciousness about the end product. This was done on 80 weight manila paper. The sails are painted with white acrylic.  The white tempura was too thin and the manila color showed through too much.

Hodge Podge has great instructions for chalk pastels.  This lemon still life was a first grade endeavor.  It was a really easy project, although some of the students at this age struggle with keeping the chalk under control.  I had one student to rub chalk all over her hands, because she is a first grader.  They have heard the term "line of horizon" numerous times with other projects and adding shadows was not a new concept.  I did discuss how "drawing what you see" applies to adding the detail that would be apparent, not the details that one would see under a microscope.  We only add around 8 or 9 brown specks on our lemons to give the illusion that they are covered with a texture of dimples.  I am falling in love with Plein Air pictures.  The inspiration for this comes from a picture I found on Pinterest.  The third grade was amazed at what they could do with the chalk pastels.  The photographs of their work, does not do the actual pictures justice.  The road has a grass middle that disappears on the horizon (at least on some of them)  With chalk, the kids can produce a work that seems pretty realistic to them.  The look on satisfaction on their faces is priceless as they produce something that they would be proud to share.

Springs Near Approach

Daffodil bouquets arrived at my kitchen door

Winged emissaries alight upon the chimney, singing of  a juvenescence.

As stubborn Mister Toad shivers deeper in his muddy covers

And Bull  Frog stays aloof, covered in the murky water

Mouse ear leaves peek out among the branches

 Soon Spring will arrive and burst upon the scene in frothy whites and pinks.

Friday, February 26, 2016

It Can Get Pretty Squirrelly in the Art Room

I used for my inspiration to do this project.  We also watched a short youtube video of crazy squirrels.  I did a guided drawing with the lst grade.
They drew the squirrels on manila paper and colored them in with crayon.  They drew acorns on the extra space and then cut out both the squirrel and the acorns.  On a white sheet of paper they drew a tree branch and a squirrels' nest with crayon.  For the sky they used chalk and smeared it into the paper.  They positioned their squirrels and acorns.  Some even drew baby squirrels in the nest using the same technique that we used for the adult squirrels.

Weekend Wit 2

Whole Person
It is easier to speak the truth than to actually live it.

Jesus wants to do more in us than just give us a home in heaven.

Mirror into My Heart
My tongue reveals more about me than anything.

True Love
Love might express itself as a feeling but for the most part it requires action on our part to be genuine.

Race Relations
What kind of deceptive forces have made melanin such a big obstacle to being able to love our neighbor as our self ?

On Lying Politicians
The reason our politicians lie, is because lying in our culture is a national past time.  Revelation says "All liars will have their place in the lake of fire."  We might want to let those words sink down some where deep.

Root of Beauty
We need to spend more time gussying up the inside of our soul and less time styling our hair.

We may fool some of the people some of the time, but we are not fooling our spouse or our children any of the time.

Men marry a women and discover that she really is a wife.  Women marry a husband and discover that he is really just a man.

Forgiveness mixed with humor goes a long way in fixing conflict.

On God
"God is Love" is the most profound thing I know. 

"The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of the Lord endures forever."

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Bird Drawings -5th Grade

These are drawings from the 5th grade.  I gave them a choice of guide pictures. They cut out the guide pictures and traced around the outside of the rectangle onto their drawing paper.  They made small marks on the drawing paper to help with dimensions.  We discussed how hard it was to get proportion right.  I wanted them to experience some success and see how using a type of measurement can help in getting things in perspective.  After drawing, they used crayon and colored pencil. I encouraged using mostly colors for the background.  Even at this age, they seem to want to put suns and apple trees in every picture and generally they look out of place, taking away from the work.   I try to encourage the use of details.  Today, I emphasized looking for lines and shadows in their pictures.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Six Common Ways to Lead an Uncommon Life

The world is a hot mess radiating out from D.C. to all parts of the globe.  It is easy to feel discouraged and confused.  I try to keep my focus, that King Jesus is really the One on the throne and He will act when the time is right and nothing will stop His hand.   He is not wringing His hands hoping to get enough power or gumption to deal with mankind.  We have lots of talking heads and plotting power mongrels who think that they are in the driver's seat, but one day they will find themselves in the hot seat instead.

So in the mean time, what means of grace does our Creator provide to us to help buoy us through our days and weeks?

He gives us a fresh new day.  What a blessing to see the sun peer over the horizon and know that there is a new day!  I see the sunrise almost every morning and they are all different and beautiful and refreshing.  With the sun comes the promise of new hope.

The steadfast love of the Lord never cease his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

He gives us food to enjoy.  Tonight I had a grilled deer burger with gouda cheese and bacon and fresh asparagus. It was delicious.  The food sustains my body but the wonderful taste cheers my soul.  Food is a true comfort that will refresh and give that little bit of  zest to keep on going.  I am so glad for the variety of foods that our Creator has provided for us.  God has provided health giving foods, but we have to choose to partake of that health giving food on a regular basis or we will not receive the benefits from it.

The eyes of all look to You, And You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand And satisfy the desire of every living thing.

When we come to the end of the day and sometimes just to the end of ourselves, we have the gift of sleep.  There are days that are so long and so hard that I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. Sleep is a gift to rest our minds and our restore our bodies.  What a wonderful Creator, to give us a reset button on life.  Sleep will solve a lot of our problems and if not solve them, it will release us, if only momentarily, by letting our minds and emotions disengage.  God's people would have an amazing edge on life, if we would just get the right amount of sleep.

 ...He gives sleep to the one He loves. 

Our Savior will at times even give us songs to comfort and cheer us.  There are nights that sleep is elusive because of sorrow or pain.  There are also nights of the soul, where we are grieving.  I have had in those times of struggle, songs of comfort, peace and joy that filled my heart and mind. Singing is a blessing and being able to sing with a group of other believers is a privilege.  It is a healing process that we should never neglect.  Even singing one song a day could be life changing.

The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime; And His song will be with me in the night, A prayer to the God of my life.

At any time of the day or night, alone or in a crowd we can pray.  We can speak to the One who has all power and know that we have a loving, generous, truth telling God.  He always does what is right, even when we do not have the foresight to see it.  Prayer will not prevent the storms that will come our way, but it will give us shelter in the middle of them.  We can pray about our own problems and we bring those that are hurting and struggling before the throne of the Only One who has the power to change the situation.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Now may the Lord of peace Himself continually grant you peace in every circumstance. The Lord be with you all! 

Chickens seem to be proof that God has a sense of humor.
Laughter is one of those common graces that we forget about.  I look for the funny things in life. I love to laugh.  Laughter seems to shake everything up in my soul so I am balanced back out.  The world loves to complain.  Believers need to work on just being cheerful.  We have every reason to smile and I am totally convinced that the gift of humor is God made.  There are too many funny things in the creation for Him not to have a sense of humor.  Just choosing to have a pleasant demeanor can go a long way in changing a hard day to a bearable one.  Our culture is chronically in the arrears of cheer filled people.  If we would stop taking our little petty things so seriously, then the humor in our daily situation would be pretty evident.  As I heard one speaker say years ago, "One day you will laugh about it, might as well go ahead and laugh now."
This cat has made me laugh numerous times.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

These different common graces can seem too common place, as a result we neglect them.  I believe these common graces are God's way of providing the means of strength and endurance for His people, but because they are not elusive enough, we think that they aren't valuable.  Wisdom is often not a secret formula, but the ability to view life through the lens of truth and then apply it to our lives.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Weekend Wit

On Tattoos  
If you want to make a permanent mark, let it be the love for your spouse and for your children that you have indelibly placed upon your heart.

Sitting is better than standing and lying down is better than sitting.

On Parenting
"More is caught than taught." (author unknown)

On Divorce
If she can't live with one man, she's not going to be able to  live with another one.
My husband's Great Aunt Beck

On Thrift
A woman can throw away more in a tablespoon than her husband can bring in a shovel.
Favorite saying of my husband's grandfather

On Finding Your Niche in Life
It is less crowded outside the box.

On Time Management
It is okay to spend part of your time just thinking.

On Priorities
Five years after you are dead, the only people that it will matter to is your family.  Think about that the next time you shaft them to advance yourself socially or at work.

On Reality
You can replace most things except time.

On Living Life
Life is lived better as a cooperative effort than a competitive one.

About Love
True lasting change always involves love.

About Control
No matter how much power or money you have, you really aren't in control.

On Children
Before you know it, children will be eye level with you and they will judge you harshly if you have not loved them dearly.

On Boys
Easier to raise boys than fix men. (author unknown)

On Home
If home isn't your favorite place to go, then somethings wrong with your home.

For Mothers
Children want to be able to walk in their mother's home and have something good to eat, even if the children are gray or balding.

About Memories
If you live your life seasoned with love, then the memories will be sweeter than the actual events.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Passalong Plants


A number of year ago, I read the book Passalong Plants by Steve Bender and Felder Rushing.  They give the low down on a number of long lasting cultivars. These are the kind of plants that one would find shared in that underground gardening society that exists among the old lady world and those who aspire to be "one" of them.  True gardeners know they can go in an established garden and more than likely come away grasping a root wrapped in wet newspaper or a little envelope of seeds from some desired plant.  After all Bender and Rushing say in their book, "All gardeners are friends."  Gardeners love to share plants almost as much as they love to grow them. Pass along plants are the old varieties that one will not find at Home Depot or at any of the trendy garden centers.  These are plants that have survived and thrived in yards for decades.   Steve and Rushing give the accurate names, the interesting tidbits about plants and pertinent information in a highly entertaining fashion.  No longer do I call Cleome, "Spider Plant"  (the name that my mother in law calls it). This book is one of my favorite reads about gardening.  Steve and Felder are humorist at heart. Even if you don't care a wit about being able to identify Rose Campion by the foliage, their book is still worth reading.  It deserves a place in any serious gardener's library.   For me  old varieties of plants are so much more interesting than a new cultivar that has not stood the test against the ravages of the insects and torrential rain or periods of intense drought and heat.

Below are some samples of my own pass along plants.  I have been privy to old lady gardens, breathing in the atmosphere of  gardens planted and tended for many decades.  It is a whole different world from subdivision mass plantings of annuals that are thrown in the ground in the spring, covered with mulch and discarded at the first frost.  That kind of willy nilly planting borders on sacrilege and is one step away from using plastic cemetery flowers as yard decorations.
Rose Campion
Rose Campion in bloom

Obedient Plant


 Steve Bender has been with Southern Living a number of years.   He can be found answering gardening questions with a dose of wit unencumbered by the restraints of political correctness at  

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Creative Bible Journal

I came upon this one day while  I was on Pinterest.  It is an NLT Bible with pictures to color in.  It is an amazingly easy read.  I love the art interaction and think it would be terrific for someone who enjoys journaling or even doodling.  When our son was a younger teen, the NLT was what we used for our family reading.  It has recently become my favorite translation again.

For some of us, we need to keep our hands busy while we are listening to the scripture being taught.  Also, we might need to slow down and meditate while we are reading passages.  This might be a good way to do it.  I think  "art" helps most processes.