I’m having fun trying to make Christmas presents for friends and family. I don’t work in my art room every day, but I’m making progress. I’m doing some things I’ve never tried before, so I’m not sure they’ll be successful – in fact, I did some things and ended up tossing them because I really didn’t like the way they turned out. If I keep at it, though, I hope I can make something people will like.
Category Archives: Arts and Crafts – Teaching
Filed under Arts and Crafts - Teaching, Attitude, Lewis Art
Good Halloween Pumpkin Information
I subscribe to Plant Care Today. I find lots of really good information and recommend the newsletter and website highly.
Today they published ways to keep your carved or uncarved pumpkins from rotting. I wish I had this information years ago when I was trying to be proactive and find a pleasing shape with a good piece of stem remaining on the top – AND keep it in good shape for Halloween – AND remember safety tips once you use the ideas. I’m reposting their good information here. –
Below you’ll find a number of solutions and techniques you can use to preserve your pumpkin, keep it from drying out, extend its shelf life (don’t expect long-term storage life) and slow down developing mold.
Apply A Bleach Solution
Perhaps, the best method to prevent your carved or uncarved pumpkins from rotting is allying a bleach solution to and on it.
Spraying your pumpkins, including the inside, the edges and all cut openings with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of bleach per quart of water can get rid of all the mold, mildew and other unwanted stuff.
Another way is to put the pumpkins in a bucket and soak them in the same bleach solution with water for about 20 minutes. Giving your decorated pumpkins a solid misting with a bleach-based spray, such as Clorox Cleanup with Bleach can also come to the rescue.
Borax Rich Pumpkin Preservation Sprays
Specially formulated to prevent pumpkins from decaying, several commercial pumpkin preservative sprays such as Pumpkin Fresh and Pumpkin Dunk’N extend the storage life of your carved pumpkin and keep it from rotting.
Containing water, borax and sodium benzoate, they work as a fungicidal solution that kills bacteria and mold. All you need to do is dry the surface and spray the pumpkins with any of these marvelous sprays to make them last until your Happy Halloween.
Rubbing Alcohol or Floor Cleaner
Spraying some rubbing alcohol can work wonders when it comes to keeping pumpkins from rotting and avoiding mold build up.
Floor cleaners can also work as excellent preservatives for uncarved pumpkins, keeping them shiny and fresh for up to four weeks. All you need to do is apply an acrylic liquid floor cleaner to a wet towel and wipe the pumpkins with the same.
Acrylic Finish Spray or Hair Spray
Hair spray and acrylic finish spray are another great sealants that prevent pumpkins from getting dehydrated and work as a barrier to mold growth, at the same time preventing rodents from eating your jack-o-lanterns away.
Exhibiting anti-freezing and water-repelling properties, WD-40 is amazing when it comes to keeping uncarved pumpkins fresh for longer. WD-40 also prevents insects and other creepy crawlers from swarming around the inside of your decorated buddies.
Carved pumpkins can reap the benefits too! Simply spray WD-40 over the surface of the pumpkin and wipe off the excess, followed by waiting a day to allow the spray to dry completely before you place a candle inside.
Petroleum Jelly Sealant/ Tabasco with Vaseline
You can make sure that pranksters think twice about touching your pumpkin art by applying petroleum jelly to your sterilized carved pumpkin.
Smearing just a thin layer of petroleum jelly on the interior, the edges, and the cut-out sections of your jack-o-lanterns to create a barrier to combat bacteria from reaching the flesh and keep moisture trapped inside, at the same time adding some shine to them.
If you are going to paint your pumpkin, you can use Vaseline as a sealant to protect your work and help them last an extra week. Tabasco sauce plus petroleum jelly together help to repel pesky pumpkin-eating critters.
Most of the vegetable oils available out there can be quite helpful in preventing a pumpkin from getting rotten. Dry the pumpkins completely and rub a small amount of vegetable oil taken on a paper or cloth towel over the surface, in a way that it looks shiny but isn’t greasy.
Avoid Exposure To Sunlight
Pumpkins rot quicker when exposed to direct sunlight. Put them in a place that’s away from the sun and try to keep them as cool as possible to make them last for about a week. In warm weather, you can also put your pumpkin in the refrigerator, but make sure you don’t freeze it.
Hydrate The Pumpkins
Over time, pumpkins tend to start getting drying out or shriveled as they lose water content. In order to revive a dried out pumpkin, submerge it in a bath tub or a bucket of water overnight or at least, for a few hours. Make sure you wipe off excess water after taking the pumpkin out to prevent molding.
*Remember, chemicals and oils are usually flammable and can prove to be dangerous if you choose to keep your pumpkins from rotting with these solutions and place candles insides.
*Instead, you can put glow sticks or battery-operated tea lights inside your Halloween jack-o-lanterns.
Thanks, again, to Plant Care Today. Click on the link to check them out and see if you’d like to sign up. I’m glad I did.
A Cute DIY Idea
I LOVE this idea. I’m going to see if I can get my husband to help me do something similar. They make me smile every time I see them.
Filed under Arts and Crafts - Teaching
Mosaic Bowl is Almost Finished!
Yesterday morning I grouted the bowl. It’s a bit like making mud pies, in that you put a huge glop of grout on the side, then try to mash it in-between the tiles. Then you add another glop. There’s some water involved, vinyl gloves, sponges, cloths, etc. You cover the bowl generously, then start using the sponge to remove the excess. You want to end up with the space covered as evenly as possible with none left on the actual tiles.
I did this as much as possible yesterday. I’ll do a bit more clean up today, then paint on the sealer, and see if I can add just a bit of glitter. I’ll also cut a round piece of felt to glue on the bottom so that it won’t scratch furniture. I’ll take pics again when it’s finished.
Filed under Arts and Crafts - Teaching, Lewis Art, mosaic
Current Mosaic Piece in Progress
I’m making this for a friend. What I’m picturing is that it will be a nice place to put a tea light and that it will glow through the pieces of glass.
All of the pieces of tile are now glued onto the glass. (This is the bowl upside-down. I’m planning to spread grout on the bottom so I can ‘sign’ it, using a baby trowel type tool.)
The next step is fun, labor-intensive, and quite messy – like playing in the mud or messing with play dough or finger painting.
I put grout all over the piece, making sure I get it all around all the pieces of glass tiles as evenly as possible. When that is done, I use warm water and a sponge, or cloth, or both, to wipe the piece to get all of the excess grout off the glass. This takes a lot of time, effort, and lots of warm, clean water. I have to get it completely cleaned up before the grout dries or it will be like trying to scrape cement off.
I’ll take pics when the grout is on and the piece cleaned up.
Filed under Arts and Crafts - Teaching, Lewis Art, mosaic
Yesterday I finished the Christmas presents for my friends and relatives. I’ve been working on them a little bit at a time most days. There was a lot of waiting for paint to dry before I could go any farther. I wish I could show them to you. Some of them read my blog and they’re supposed to be a surprise. I’ll take pics of them and then store them away until it’s time for Christmas giving. Once I’ve given them, I’ll post the pics here. I’ve had a wonderful time working on them. :0)
I’m making good progress on my mosaic bowl in the shop, too. That has had to go slowly because, with the sloping sides of the bowl, the tiles slide down the sides of the bowl unless I confine each work day to the very top edge of the bowl, rolling it each day after the tiles dry in place. I think I’ll be able to finish gluing the tiles today. Then I’ll try to find a good morning or afternoon when I have a least a couple of hours, because once the grouting starts, you need to finish getting it on, and then wiping off all the excess in one sitting. I’ll post pics of that when the tiles are all on, and then again when the grouting is finished.
Lastly, I have a table set up in my art room upstairs to start going through the “Drawing with the Right Side of the Brain” book that may help me do a better job of drawing what I see. My husband bought me a WONDERFUL set of pencils of all kinds, all in a medium-sized suitcase. The problem is, it’s such a pretty set of supplies, I hate to USE it. I’m intimidated by the idea of wasting such a beautiful set.
I’ll need to give myself a good talking to – as I always have to do when I try something new that is outside my comfort zone – and then simply dive in and give it the best I have. I’m excited about the possibility of learning to draw better. I have always admired people who can draw what they see. I’m in awe of several artists on my website who can draw people, animals, buildings, and landscapes using different media from pencils to pastel, to oil, to watercolors, etc. SO I’ll start talking to myself soon – trying to get to the point where I give myself full permission to fail. THEN I’ll be able to start. What a lucky woman I am!
I hope that you have something you enjoy doing that makes you feel creative. I don’t think it really matters if you EVER get any good or not. The trying to create something fills you with joy – once you can make the little negative voices in your head shut up… :0)
Filed under Arts and Crafts - Teaching, Attitude, Challenges, Childlike Fun
Filed under Arts and Crafts - Teaching, Favorite Quotes
Measure Your Words
I saw a post today called, “Measure Your Words.” The point of the post was thinking before you speak, realizing that your words have power, etc.
I immediately thought of my mom, though, when I read the title.
My mother’s dad would only pay for one year of college, so my mom – in one year – took all the courses required for graduation from the two-year, Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri, but one (not available that year) almost graduating. She read voraciously, worked a crossword puzzle and the cryptoquote from the newspaper every day, almost always finishing both.
She could stand up in a meeting and say what was on her mind succinctly and persuasively. My husband has said he wishes he could do HALF as well as she did with no notes, talking off the cuff, no matter the occasion. I personally die off at the idea of speaking in public. When I do, my lip twitches…
I remember that I could tell how angry she was by how long the words were. If she were miffed, her message was straightforward. The more angry she was, the longer the words got. She had quite an impressive vocabulary, making a point of learning new words all the time, memorizing their meanings and proper pronunciation and usage. She once got up in a meeting, ripping the previous speaker’s words to ribbons, using words that were SO long, many of the people – including the speaker – didn’t realize he had been gutted like a fish.
“Measure your words” brings back lots of memories of growing up with a wonderful role model. I would give anything to be able to listen to her now – no matter how long her words were. :0)
Filed under Arts and Crafts - Teaching, Family, Favorite People
Tour of My Now Clean Art Room
On the second floor of our home we converted a third bedroom into my art room. My husband and I built these shelves in the hallway outside the bedroom, plus installed some cabinets underneath with a top to hold some supplies. The shower curtain to the right of the picture keeps dust (and cats) out of our linen area.
This is my drafting table where I do most of my painting. I have a sheet of vinyl to protect the actual drafting table, and then I have a large piece of heavy glass. This was set up to start my new Christmas cards and ornaments, but will be cleaned off to start painting the stationery and note cards order.
We put up shelves over a dressing table area. I have all kinds of ribbons and string on two long rods below the shelves and above the counter top. The counter top is set up for making jewelry. To right right are shelves full of note card and stationery supplies.
I’ve set up this table as a ‘learn to draw’ table, with my Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain book, with lessons to work through, templates I made before, the beautiful pencils set my husband got me for Christmas, etc. This is also the area where I do things with my alcohol ink. (You can see the wooden base my husband fixed for me, making holes the little bottles of alcohol ink can sit in.)
This is the far end of the room, past the drafting table in the middle and the drawing area to the right of the picture. We hung shelves all the way across to hold supplies over a counter top with drawers on both sides. Between the drawers I have three roll-arounds.
As you see, I have many wonderful things to work with in my art room. My biggest problem trying to clean is that I want to stop and do something with a wonderful ‘thing’ I had forgotten I had… I could easily spend all day every day here, playing with my goodies.
I hope you enjoyed the tour. This afternoon I’ll be heavily into creating stationery and note cards for my customer. I’m not sure if she wants personalization or not yet. I’m excited to get started!
Have a wonderful day!