Thursday, April 18, 2013

Git Along Little Doggies! Yeee Haaaaaa!!

      Profound Pride is mine to keep since Melinda asked me, Aunt Josie,  to be a GUEST BLOGGER.    I do not really believe that I am worthy of this honor since she out blogs me handily.....but I am going to do my damnedest to impress.
     Two weeks ago, the Riley Avenue Elementary School in Baiting Hollow held their annual dance.   This year, the theme was the Wild West.    I was enlisted by my sister Mary, who is the self-appointed Queen of Riley, as a PTA Mom and volunteer class helper for her twin sons' teachers.   (She literally wears a tiara when she goes there)    So we went on a mission for inexpensive cowboy hats, bandannas, and some bales of hay to convert the halls of Riley School into Riley Ranch.
                                                                    My nephew, Sean

      Last year, the theme was SAFARI, and we crossed a few lines by creating a scene outside the front entrance of the school by parking a Safari-looking jeep and other supplies up on the grass, alongside the entrance.   We didn't ask, we just did it, because everyone knows it is better to beg for forgiveness later, than ask for permission before, particularly when you are pretty sure the permission will not be granted!   Soooo this year, Mr. Enos,  the principal, was mildly concerned about what we had up our sleeves.  This was an anxiety that could not go unexploited, and as I met him, randomly, walking in to the boys' Christmas concert, I told him I was looking forward to the dance this year. He knows me as "Aunt Josie" since I attend a lot of events at the school.   I told him, "we'll be sure not to park on the grass, but how do you feel about livestock?"  Well, this launched a 4 month long string of emails and conversational allusions to "ranch like" animals of all kinds and even the suggestion of borrowing the mechanical bull owned by a local country-western bar.   As the day got closer, he got more and more nervous, fearing the worst.
                                                                 Outside the "barn"

      The week before the dance, I emailed my sister and CC'd the principal, some off handed questions about how many water buckets we had, and that we probably needed more.   He asked her over and over, "Are you really going to have animals here?"  And each time, we answered with a question, such as "Are there animals on a ranch?"    or...   "Don't you know how much kids love animals?"   When the big night arrived, we enlisted the help of 2 local police officers who just happened to be there because they are parents of kids who were attending the dance.   As the unsuspecting principal approached the entrance upon his arrival, we made sure that he came in just in time to "catch us" mid-sentence with the officers about how "it's good that goats have small teeth or else more stitches would have been required."  As if there had been a goat mishap only moments ago.   And then we greeted him with "Listen, don't worry, it was only a few first graders who didn't read the sign about not hugging the goats!"     By this time he knew we were full of it, and luckily he appreciated our decorating job, saying that he thought the safari was the best dance ever but this was even better.  

                                              Mary and her husband, my brother-in-law John

          So the kids enjoyed the line dancing, cowboy hats, bandannas, cowboy tattoos, and taking pictures of themselves in the "jail," and we enjoyed it all right along with them.    My nephews are "graduating" from Riley this year, and I just want to send a HUGE and heartfelt THANK YOU to all of their teachers, who were all fabulous in their own individual ways, and also to Mr Enos and Ms. Grimm, the principal and assistant principal, who have created such a positive atmosphere for students, teachers and parents (and AUNTS) at Riley Avenue Elementary.

And THANK YOU Melinda, for allowing me to be a GUEST BLOGGER!!!!!!     :-)

                                                                 Mary and Mr. Enos

                                                              That's me, in the lock up!!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

FINISHING your Easter Tree or, The Importance of Finishing a Project, even if it's slightly defective...

     I take after my dad in that I tend to be too much of a perfectionist sometimes.   Sometimes that's a good thing and sometimes it just prevents you from getting the job done.  My house is seasoned with the remnants unfinished craft projects that I started and, midway through, discovered a problem with, and then abandoned since they did not meet up with my perfectionistic standards.  Then there are times when life interferes and you just lose your momentum.

     This Easter tree, for example, started out wonderfully.  I worked all day on the first part, which I showed for you in my last post.  However, then Easter was almost upon us, and I had to battle the crowds for chocolate bunnies and edible whatnots, not to mention taking my daughter to the orthodontist for braces, etc, etc.  When I finally had time to work on this again, it was the day before Easter, and there were eggs to color, etc, etc, and also...  it was crooked.  Well, not exactly crooked, as in, tilting, but it was taller on one side than the other.

     I debated cutting the tall branches, buuuuttttt... in order to really fix it correctly, (here we go, folks) I had to take the one branch completely OFF, and reattach it further down the main branch, which would mean I'd have to take the duct tape off, and the wire, and what if it twisted?  What if I wrecked something else in the process?  How long would that take?  Why didn't I check it before?  What was I thinking?

I delayed.

... and delayed.

... and delayed.

     And finally I decided that a finished project is better than an unfinished and abandoned project, and I will just make a mental not to check for symmetry at the appropriate time on the next project.

     So now that I had decided to FINISH this project, even though Easter was over, I was kind of sad about what to do with it, and then I realized that April (yes, even though it's just about half over) is National Poetry Month... and I had an idea.

National Poet-tree Month

     I'm going to bring this to school and make it a Poet-TREE.  I'm going to ask the kids to write a short poem on a leaf, and hang it on the tree for National Poetry Month.  And now I'm excited about my tree again! 

     Here's what I did for this stage of the project:

     I wrapped each of the branches in plaster strips, purchased from my favorite craft store, Michael's.  Each roll of plaster coated fabric (It looks kind of like the bandages a hospital would wrap around an injured limb, on the bandages are infused with plaster pellets.  You cut strips of the stuff, dunk them into water (in a disposable container, NOT your sink - it would clog your drain!) and wrap them around your  piece of artwork.  The rolls of plaster fabric are about 8 inches wide, and I cut them into strips about 1 to 1-1/2 inches wide.  This tree took two complete rolls.  Each roll was under 10.00, but I used a coupon to purchase each one, so the cost wasn't bad.  

     In the picture above you can see the plaster roll packaging, as well as my disposable bucket (the bottom of a 1 gallon milk container, a pair of yuckied up scissor, and the ruler I was using for who knows what).  This is how far one roll got me.  As a matter of fact, this is where I was a few days before Easter. I wrapped the strips diagonally around the branches, putting a second coat in the opposite direction around branches that needed to be sturdier.

Today, I got smart and finished this project outside, because it's messy.  See how messy?  
OUTSIDE, I tell ya...

My jeans look like they contracted a bad case of white chicken pox.

     Not to mention that it's dusty.  So if it's windy and you can't stand upwind, wear a mask so you don't breath in the dust.

     I would have painted it today, but I wanted it to be COMPLETELY dry first so it's as sturdy as possible, and it doesn't get moldy inside.

Stay tuned!