Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bucket Man

This evening we went to Walmart to look for some items for our upcoming trip to the beach.  After striking out, I thought we'd go to Home Depot and get some sturdy buckets for catching fiddler crabs, jellyfish, and whatever other little items we might find at the beach.  We got four small plastic paint buckets (I thought the white would be better than the orange for pictures) and headed home.  My always entertaining son decided to carry the buckets to the car on his head, which would not have been a problem if he could see where he was going.  He conceded temporarily and took them off his head so he could cross the parking lot, but a few minutes later when we were driving, I saw him in the rearview mirror, sitting there serenely, with a bucket on his head as if he wore one every day.

Once we pulled in the driveway, he (somehow) vaulted out of the car and began stalking around the yard like a possessed zombie, calling himself Bucket Man, and reminding me very much of the Black Knight (ala, "it's just a flesh wound") from "Monty Python and the Holy Grail."

In between laughs with his sister, I ran in the house to get the camera so I could photograph the elusive Bucket Man for posterity.   I'm glad I was able to get these few pictures before he suggested his sister give him the remaining bucket for one of his feet.  She was happy to comply, but when he was standing up again, he inadvertently placed his bucket on her flip-flop shod toe, ending all the fun with her howl of pain. 

Thanks for the laughs while they lasted, Bucket Man, it's been a tough week.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Sunflower Seat - Teacher Gift

     About a week ago, Daughter Dearest decided she wanted to make her teacher an end of the year present.  "Can we got to Michael's?"  she aske me last Sunday night.  "Sure."  I am a sucker for Michael's Craft Store. 

     After about 3 tours around the store with me saying, "well, give me an idea of what you had in mind..." and my girl asnwering, "I don't KNOW!" she had only settled on a ceramic bobble-head dog that she was going to paint.  It would have a place of honor right next to the apple-shaped items, I thought.  On the 4th turn around, I suggested, "how about we paint a wooden stool and she can use it as a special seat in the classroom?"  

     "Oh, yeah!!"
      Finally.  A plan. 

     I remembered my girl saying how her teacher loved sunflowers.  How about we the top of the stool to look like a sunflower, and twe paint the legs to look like stems.  She liked that idea.  

     First, we found a few pictures of sunflowers online and printed them for reference. 

     Then I drew a circle in the center of the stool's seat where the sunflower's brown center would be.  I had my girl paint the edges of the seat with sky blue - where the petals would gap apart.  She also painte the underside of the seat this color as well, although, afterward I was thinking that maybe we should have painted it green, like the underside of the flower.  Oh well.   We went on to paint the legs darg green, and then the rungs a green that was slightly lighter. 

     Next came a row of petals - darker yellow/orange in color to give it some depth and make it stand out from the next row in front. 

     I added some squiggley lines down the stems in the ligher green (I might had painted a few leaves here and there if we had more time, but alas!  We are procrastinators!)  We added some more rows of petals in lighter and lighter yellow (and again, if we had more time, we might have...  but we didn't).  Finally, I dribbled black, brown and a bit of yellow paint around the center of the sunflower, and then dabbed it all together with the brush to make it blend.  Our internet picture was absolutely necessary for this part.   
And then, WALLAH!! the finished product.  She wrote a little message to her teacher underneath the seat.  

Unfortunately, the teacher was absent on the last day. 


Hope she liked it! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Harry Potter at Discovery Times Square

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, go see this exhibit.  The wizarding world of Harry Potter is filled with items you just can’t find in the muggle world, so this may be your only opportunity to see, for example, an issue of The Quibbler, or the pattern on the invisibility cloak.
The exhibit begins in a small room with a guide who sorted some of us using the famous sorting hat.  “What’s your favorite house?”  She asked each person as they sat on her stool.  The hat ALWAYS sorted the person into their favorite house hummmm… wonder how that happened…
The main exhibit began in a circular room suggesting platform 9¾ (the train seems to be just pulling in) with video screens playing snippets of the movies.  We walked through halls reminiscent of Hogwarts complete with moving-picture frames on the walls.  There was even a large picture of the fat lady attempting to break a wine glass with her operatic voice… There were props from all movies (with the last conspicuously absent, of course).  There were large items (Buckbeak), small items (Hermoine’s Yule Ball earrings), items critical to the plot (the time turner necklace) and others, not at all critical (a bottle of Pumpkin Juice, and an issue of a quiddich magazine that I can’t even remember the name of), but interesting to see up close.  What were all the proclamations made by Dolores Umbridge while she was the high inquisitor?  How about, “Girls and Boys are strictly prohibited from being closer than 8 inches to each other.”  I think we could use that proclamation in some other schools!
There was a hefty showing of clothing, and if you’re like me and you love costumes, you’ll really appreciate this.  The boys of our group breezed through this section.  Clothes?  What clothes?  While a fair amount of “regular” clothing is on display, there is probably a greater amount of unusual clothing items on display here.  You can finally see just how hideous Ron’s dress robes for the Yule Ball really are, and since Victor Krum’s outfit is even more dashing in person, Ron’s abject misery at the party takes on new meaning.  Want to see Dumbledor’s Yuleball outfit?  Did you realize that Bellatrix LaStrange has a custom fitted leather dagger holder on the side of her black leather pieced corset? Did you expect Hagrid to be quite THAT big?  Bet you didn’t realize that the Irish quidditch players looked like knights of the round table, did you?
But it’s not only about the clothing.   You can see the beakers and storage jars from the potions lab, the box of chocolates that cause Ron to fall hopelessly in love, every sort of quidditch item you can imagine including the Nimbus 2000 and  the Nimbus 2001, wands from every important character, and of course, horcruxes.  My kids are pretty big fans, so they moved through the exhibit at a careful pace, checking out everything and lingering on their favorite items.  My son carefully avoided the GIGANTIC spider with the hairy legs which was quite lifelike if spiders were the size of Smart Cars.  The kids who had not watched the movies as often zipped through the exhibit quicker and lingered in the quaffle-toss area, tossing quaffles through some sample quiddich hoops to test their skills. 
After wandering happily through the museum, we landed in the gift shop, which had some great items but most of the stuff I was really interested in was not inexpensive.  The wands, really nice and exceptionally realistic (although not realistic enough to conjure a Patronus), were all 45.00, as were copies of the Maurader’s Map (a large piece of paper? 45.00?), and the neckties for each house.  Much as I loved them I could not see spending 45.00 on a striped necktie with the Griffindor crest.  Still, I was able to find a nice mousepad for my desk at work, and my daughter got a miniature Hedwig in her cage with a mini Hedwig sticker book, and my son got a pen with the Griffindor griffin on the top.  Oh, and although we may have been able to get it somewhere else for slightly less money, we got the movie we were missing:  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.  Now we can’t wait to go to Universal Studios to see Hogwarts. And I can’t wait to sew some more costumes.