First of all, I am praying for all those in the East that are without homes and electricity tonight. My thoughts are back there and it feels so sad for the rest of the US to be able to carry on the Halloween tradition while they are suffering so much................................................................................................
Whenever we go to visit our kids and grandkids--Three live on the Washington Coast with their families and are only minutes apart-------Oma has to bring a "project" to do. It is a 4-5 hr drive so we make the most of it.
I saw a cute idea for battery lights in mason jars with gauze over them.  We attached googly eyes and stickers  and put them in a tray.  Here are sisters  Sydne, Lauryn and Rylee with their jars.  Rylee, 4, told her parents they made "estimation" jars for Halloween.  Five year old Lauryn is in Kindergarden and they all brought things from home to put in a jar to learn how to 'estimate' the number of items inside.  They are called estimation jars.  So precious.
Here Nai'a and brother Elijah pose with their jars.   The first thing the kids ask when they see me after hugs and kisses  is "Oma what are we making this time?"  Or  "Oma what is our project?"
When they come to visit us my whole studio is open to them to explore and of course the messier the better.  Sorry Moms, I can't help it. Heheh
One day I had no ideas  and made myself go into the studio and make Something Halloween.  I have an 8x10 canvas and used spray inks to get a purple, pink orange background.  I had old fold out white wedding bells and cut them into pumpkin shapes.  I then used the spray inks to color them and let them dry.  I mounted them on the canvas and added a few little halloween embellishments.  I aim to find a frame I can paint black at a thrift store and keep it for future halloweens.
This was a fun project.  While on vacation in August we stopped in an antique shop and the owner had some fake cakes.  These are so fun and easy.  I took thrift store tins  you know the ones we all use that house cookies and candy and popcorn and crackers, whatever. I painted the tins with vinyl joint compound  like buttering a cake.  You have to make sure the tins that top the bottom one are secured with enough goop because they have those rims on the bottom and the bottom is recessed.
After letting them dry for a day or two, you are ready to decorate.  I painted the 'frosting' orange,
covered wooden letters in green glitter, and pulled out 'stuffs' from my holiday stash.  I had this cute black  tin container that I stuffed with skellies and candy corn, etc.   I added the spider web when I was done to complete the project.  I just used hot glue to adhere the objects and letters but you can also use a strong adhesive of any kind.  You just have to wait for the items to adhere longer.
I had so much fun I decided my Mayhem Monday kids should make them as well.  We are now meeting on Tuesdays, so the majority of the kids can come.  I renamed our group  the Tornado Tuesdays  I love it.  I have about 11-12 kids coming and average 9-10 every week.
These kids love coming here.  I have been doing this for the past five years now, year round.
When I have to miss for any reason and cancel a week they are all so upset.  They will often come to visit in between because they all live in the neighborhood.   Some of these kids are younger siblings of kids that I started this for.  Those kids are in high school now but still come to visit on occasion.  There is always lots of hugs and smooches when we see each other.  John has been such a positive influence.  He teases them and helps when he is off work and home.  They even like to run and hide if he pulls up to the house when they are here. (Like he won't walk into the front door and see
both the kitchen and dining room tables full of projects and pounds of supplies scattered hither and yon!!!
He always plays along and acts surprised or scared  when they jump out at him.  Every once in a while, if someone has had a bad day at home or school, they will ask if John is home and ask for a
"special hug' from him.  That always makes his day.  Our grandchildren are so far way but it is so nice to love on these kids!!
I always show the kids a premade example of what we are making and then let them go for it. Our number one rule is no one can criticize their own work or anyone else's.  I tell them what they make comes from their heart and they need to embrace their creativity and be proud of it.  Some times the projects are far from what I have shown them and that is the beauty of letting kids do their own thing.
They are all seeing the same thing with a different eye and muse!!  I wish it were easier for myself to create with such freedom.  My inner critic jumps up and down immediately if I have any doubts.
My hope is that these kids, and my own, realize that we are all talented and need to just make our art for the special thing it is.

On Monday I was concerned about how to get 10 pumpkins for carving.  Everywhere I went they were so expensive!! I was shopping at a local chain store and happened to go through the Managers" checkstand.  We have been going to this store for 38 years and he has moved up through the ranks in all this time.  Anyway I brought up the kids and our weekly events.  I asked if he would be willing to donate any pumpkins for the cause, at the same time pointing out that many of the bottom pumpkins,were visibly rotting at the bottom of the huge boxes.
He told me to bring them back into the store in the cart and come through his checkstand.  I picked out the smallest of the pumpkins----still they were $6.99 each!!  Egads.
I returned to his stand and we talked a few minutes and then he got very stern and said----Just take them---all of them----but if you breathe ONE word to anyone you will have to come back and pay the full amount.  I mean it!!  He got embarassed but winked at me.  I said does this mean you won't expect a Thank You from the kids?  He said NO NO GO.  What a great guy.  I rarely ask for donations but this was just meant to be. And  I can tell you all because you will keep the secret.
Usually this time of year it is cold and awful but we all sat out on our back deck and carved away, telling ghost stories while we worked.  The kids were so excited when they saw the size of the pumpkins. 
I told them a very nice person donated them and we yelled 'Thank You nice person' out into the universe!

He wanted a fabric head band  so he coud be a ninja

When I brought my fabric scrap bin out they all wanted something for their 'people'.


For the first time in years I am not dressing up---just not feeling up to it today. 
This lovely lady is my full sized mannequin---Stella.I bought her an estate sale a few years back.
I dressed her up as a witch this year and painted her with green make-up. 

This is her looking out the dining room window--right next to the front door.
Hope your little ones are enjoying their time trick or treating or at Harvest Parties at their church.

Our Spring/Summer Project

Easter weekend some of our grandkids arrived with their parents in tow. John and I decided to surprise them with a Tuff Shed we bought to be both a 'playhouse' and outdoor workshop for me.

This is how it started out.  The little girls kept running out to watch it's progress.  Our three year old granddaughter asked   "When are you big boys going to be done making this.?"  It was so cute.

It was fun to see what it was going to look like all done.

This was the end result. 


I have two shelves for storing my junk stuff and tools.  On the opposite wall they built in two bunk beds that can later be used for storage.   

  I had them install a dutch door so the kids could close the bottom part and and leave the top open.
Here is Lauryn, cousin Nai'a, sister Sydne, sister  Rylee and cousin Elijah.  They all love this.
The girls wanted to call it the CLUBHOUSE so that is what it is.  I spent a while painting the outside and found some fun things at the thrift store to enhance the outside.

 Here five sisters/cousins: Sydne, Nakiah, Rylee, Lauryn and Tovi Joi are painting the one wall in place( and themselves and the floor  ";).  The final coats were blackboard paint.  We still have the rest of the walls to finish, but all the electrical wiring is done.  Now we will have to finish in the early spring.

We did have two 'girls'  nights' and slept our here this summer.  Lauryn and Rylee decided there were  'three' bunks and and the bottom was the floor.  I made foam mattresses for all three beds and cute pillows.  Will update pictures this next spring on this great project.  Oh  yes--we also are plugged in for cable if I want to have a small tv when working out here.


Our Newest Addition

Our newest member to our household is our little Shelka.  She really belongs to our youngest, Brianna and her family...Jason, Nakiah and Tovi Joi.  In August they relocated from Kodiak, Alaska, to  South America---Ecuador!!   They have a three year committment to teaching in an international school.  Unfortunately they were unable to take Shelka with them at the time.  As it is a very long, frightening flight in cargo and too expensive for us, she is making a temporary home with us.
She will either go with us next summer or with her family if they come to visit then.  
She loves licking on ice cubes and whines when I use the icemaker to fill a cup.  She has to have her own cube!!!
She has quickly wormed her way into our hearts.  She especially gives me joy and companionship when I am home and not feeling up to going out.  Our other babies, callie and mato, the cats  still don't want a thing to do with her.

She has to ride in the car whenever I go somewhere.  I do take her if I am running quick errands.  When we can't take her, she lowers her head and tail and sulks off.  It feels like leaving one of our own kids behind!!

Here you can see the front of the house all decked out for halloween.  Shelka is not a bit afraid of the big spiders...I hate spiders but love these things...go figure.

Okay Nakiah and Tovi---Oma and Opa are taking very very good care of Shelka.  She has taken over the bed at night and watches all the other houses on the street.  Of course she wants to herd the cats and they still won't have any thing to do with her.  But mato and callie will let her get within a foot before they start hissing and swiping at her.


Serene In The Northwest

Unlike our friends and family on the East Coast, we are enjoying balmy fall weather with occasional rainstorms.  We send out prayers for all of those who are going through the many hardships during this Storm SANDY.  May God keep you all safe.

It has been more than a year since I last posted.  I went to school for five quarters and absolutely loved it.  Not only did I enjoy being back in the academic classroom, I fell in love with my art classes.

For not having any art since grade school I felt like a kid in a candy store.  I have learned so much about design and basics of art as well as much more about myself.  Interacting with all the young and some older students brought me much joy.
 Unfortunately my RSD flared in the spring when I broke my big toe stepping into a fence post hole.
I reinjured the same foot in July. That kept me sidelined for 6 months on crutches and I was unable to attend school this fall quarter.

I have vowed to work on art of some sort EVERY DAY.  That is a tall order, but I am making it happen.

In the next post I will bring you up to date with my spring and summer projects.
AM so glad to be back.  Hope you stay and visit often