Hatching Dragon Eggs

February 20, 2010

Hatching Dragon Eggs (Photo by Booh)

by Booh (age 6)

You think dragons are bad
but of course they’re not.
Do you think they’re not true?
Well, they’re are.
I think they’re good.
I’m trying to see if I can find dragon eggs
so I can hatch some.

Do you think dragons live far away on a hill?
Well, they’re all around.
Some dragons live in caves
some dragons live in swamps
some dragons live in trees

This is dragon language:
grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr hhhhhhhhhhhhhhaaaaaaaaaaaa mrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr hahe        ssssssssssssssssss


Castanet’s Sketch Kit

April 29, 2009

my sketch kit

Originally uploaded by Castanet

I’ve shared before Castanet’s Field Bag. Now it’s time to share her Sketch Kit, a must have collection of necessities for the traveling artists and all naturalists. Click on the image and it will take you to her Flickr page where she has added notes of all the contents in her sketch kit. Then follow her link to her blog to read more about her adventures with her kids.

Collecting Trash on Earth Day in Washington, D.C.

April 27, 2009
Picking up trash on Earth Day (National Capital Building)

Earth Day - Collecting trash on the mall in front of the National Capitol Building.

For spring vacation, Booh and I made a road trip passing through seven different states, with a stop in Washington, D.C.  

Earth Day happened to fall during her school break this year and the “Environmental Team” at her school coordinated a litter pick-up project for students during the break. Kids that agreed to pick up a bag of trash on Earth Day received either a pine tree sapling to plant or an energy saving light bulb. Booh picked the pine tree and on Earth Day we found ourselves on the Washington Mall.

Picking up trash on Earth Day (Washington Monument)

Earth Day - Collecting trash on the mall with the Washington Monument in the background.

Here she is picking up trash with the Capitol Building and the Washington Monuments in the background. The day was blustery and cool in the morning, lending to a great visual background with the dark skies on one horizon and the sun breaking through on the other.  

I love the imagery and timing of these photos: Earth Day, cleaning up the Washington Mall, the dark skies, national icons on the horizon.  

This lends well to her desire to be an environmental activist.

Sidewalk Chalk Art Series: Haunted House

April 2, 2009

Haunted House: From the Sidewalk Chalk Art SeriesSpring has finally sprung here in New England. Booh broke out her sidewalk chalk and drew this haunted house. I’m amazed to see how much her sidewalk drawings have evolved since the snow first fell in December.

She was concerned that the rain would wash her art away, so we agreed that I would take a photo of her masterpieces so we could keep them forever.

Here’s her first work of sidewalk chalk art of the season, titled “Haunted House.” It has eyes and fangs and even bat wings (which I unfortunately cut off in this picture).

She has recently been drawing a lot of “scary” characters.  At first I wasn’t sure what to make of them nor if I liked them.  Then she explained that they are scary so they will scare away the scary monsters.  Brilliant!  I now love her gargoyles!

Artist Trade Card Swap: ATC’s We Received!

March 16, 2009

ATC Swap:  Collage

Booh was sick last week (five day fever!).  So on the third day, when we got our package from an artist trade card (ATC) swap we participated in, it was a timely dose of joyful medicine!  Just what the doctor ordered!  

Booh had made ten cards for the kid ATC swap and I had made ten for the adult swap – in return we received a package of twenty little cards gems from artists (and young budding artists) all over the country. We took nine of the cards and made a collage to show how delicious they all look together! 

ATC: Sarah Washington - "Heartsong"

Heartsong by Sarah Washington

This one on the left is Booh’s favorite out of all the wonderful cards we received. I’m very fond of it too. It’s called Heartsong and was made by Sarah Washington.  She has an esty store called Totally Crunchy Handcrafts.  There aren’t any listings right now, but I’d love to see what she may add in the future.   Sarah received our sailor card, one of my favorites that showed a sea sick sailor on the back side.

ATC: Rachel Wolf - "Fly"

Fly! by Rachel Wolf

The two other cards shown here we’ll add to our nature table: 

The watercolor with butterfly is by Rachel Wolf, titled Fly!.  It reminds me of spring and we’ll add it to our table on Friday for the Spring Equinox when we change our table to spring (yeah!  spring is here!).

The other card below is titled Summer Tree and was painted by Harmony Lattin.  This one we’ll save for the summer to add it’s rich greens and blue to table.

ATC: Harmony Lattin - "Summer Tree"

Summer Tree by Harmony Lattin

Another set that I was particularly fond of is shown in the collage above: the top row, center and the middle row, right.  These two were made by Willary Palaia.  Her cards were mixed media.  Printed paper was folded around her card, embellishments added, and she wrapped her cards with sewing thread.  They’re really cool!  

If you click on the collage above it will take you to its corresponding Flickr page where I’ve noted all the cards.  – Special thanks to Alison Kiser for being the hostess extraordinaire! 


Castanet’s Field Bag

March 14, 2009

my field bag

Originally uploaded by Castanet

I had to share the field bag of Castanet from In Heywood’s Meadow. Click on the image and it will take you to her Flickr page where she has added noted of all its contents, along with the contents of several others. She has truly inspired and motived me!

Felted Fleece Spring Nature Table Baskets

March 13, 2009

Felted Fleece Spring Basket & Pussy Willow

Booh and I made a set of little spring baskets by felting raw fleece. Recently we went to a local farm to watch them shear their sheep and we got to take home a small bag of the skirted fleece. I wanted to add the fleece to our spring nature table and the idea of felted baskets came to mind.   We took the raw fleece and wrapped it around a river stone. We then felted it using hot water and soap. I love the organic look of these and how the silvery Pussy Willow catkins from the tree in our backyard look nestled inside. To me it is the perfect addition to Booh’s spring nature table.

The one above is a close-up of the smallest one in the bunch (this one is for “T&Z”). I love the wispy edges.   And the close-up of the one below is the largest one which we filled to the brim with Pussy Willow catkins and placed in the center of our nature table.  We made several baskets to share and swap with others that have a nature table too.  We’re sending them off today and are looking forward to what treasures we get in return!

Felted Fleece Spring Baskets & Pussy Willow Felted Fleece Spring Basket & Pussy Willow 

Artist Trade Card Swap

March 12, 2009

ATC Swap
These are the artist trade cards I made for the ATC Swap I did with other artists from Bits of Goodness. Some I did as collages and others I used acrylic paint. They were a lot of fun to make. I can’t wait to see the cards I’ve traded for! I’ll post a collage once I get them all.

Booh did a set of ATC’s too that she traded with other kids. I look forward to her receiving hers too.

Periodic Table of Elements

March 7, 2009

Lisa over at 5 Orange Potatoes (great blog!) recently blogged about exploring the Periodic Table of Elements with her two young girls (ages 5 & 7).  She recommends the book, The Periodic Table- Elements with Style by Basher & Dingle for this subject and gives creative ideas on how to make this study fun.  Two ideas she writes about is a PTOE scavenger hunt and fun riddles about the PTOE for her girls to solve. She authored the riddles and has graciously made them available on her blog.  

Each week she’ll focus on one element with her girls and post their study on her blog, 5orangepotatoes.blogspot.com. I wanted to share the link to her PTOE post HERE for other families interested in making the study of chemistry fun with their kids.  Read her post, see her photos, check out her suggested resources, and you too will be inspired!  Here’s what I posted in her comment box:

I’m so glad you shared this Lisa! I never took chemistry in HS or college. I’ve recently gone back to school for my MS (in nutrition), and I had to take 4 semesters of chemistry for my prereq (2 more to go)! I was terrified the math would overcome me, but I rocked (straight A’s)! – Along the way I shared the chart and info with my daughter, and I think my excitement got her excited too. This resource you’ve posted has our names written all over it! We are so checking this out and working with the curriculum. I can’t thank you enough for posting it!!!!

Mushing Along the River

March 5, 2009



Here Booh got a chance to do a little dog sledding with a friend who travels to the iditarod every year. She gives dog sled rides around Western Mass, and this ride was with her new pups.

Alaskan Huskies

Alaskan Huskies

Booh loves animals so much that the combo of thrilling ride plus dogs was so exciting to her!  She got to be a helping hand with setting up the dogs and sled and learned a lot about the process.  She was instructed to hold tight to the harnesses as the dogs were brought from the truck to the sled.  At one point, one of the dogs she was escorting to the sled started to take off.  She tripped and fell, but she didn’t let go, and that dog dragged her a good distance!  

The ride was three miles long.  Her poor little hands were so cold afterwards.  Poor kid.  I really gotta get her some new gloves. – She talked about it the whole time during dinner, sharing all the little details with her dad.  So cute!

The Making of an Environmental Activist

February 15, 2009

When I Grow Up ...

Booh came home with this homework sheet, “What would be your dream job when you are an adult?” for vocational week at her school. Her answer, “I want to be an environmental activist.”

Right now she wants to save the ants that are coming back with the winter thaw at her school  She’s rallied her classmates and teachers together to support her “cause'” and for the second year in a row she and her classmates have  created posters saying, “Dot step on the awntss!  Woch awcht! ” (Read: “Don’t step on the ants!  Watch out!)  They’ve posted these signs throughout the school  This desire to protect the ants comes from her love of insects.  She use to want to be a Bug Doctor.  Makes sense that now she wants to be an environmental activist.

How does she know about environmental activism? She knows from stories I’ve shared about work I’ve done as a young environmental activist participating in non-violent civil disobedience.  And I’ve read stories to her about other non-violent peace, social and environmental activists, including Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr. and  Julia Butterfly Hill.  After learning about Julia Butterfly Hill, she did a sit-in in one of the trees in our front yard to protect it from being cut down.  I had to reassure her that we had no plans on clear-cutting our front yard!

Broken (Sugar Cookie) Hearts

February 10, 2009
Decorating Valentine Cookies

I took Booh to a late afternoon cooking class for Valentine’s Day to make Valentine Cookies for her Daddy. When we arrived, the tables in the classroom were lined with butcher paper and individual decorating stations were set up for each student. Ramekins of colorful dime store candies were set out, and the temptation to stick little fingers into these bowls had all the kids on the edge of their stools while waiting for the class to begin. Once everyone arrived and settled in, heart shaped sugar cookies, the smooth blank slates for their little love creations, were passed out, and the decorating began.

Decorating Valentine Cookies

With small chef hats and matching aprons the kids set to work with their piping bags and chocolate non-perils. As frosting leaked out of the top of her piping bag and onto her sleeve, Booh made the analogy of the pink and purple frosting being like “glue” and the rainbow sprinkles “glitter.”

At one point I noticed that Booh would suspiciously sit back on her stool and pull her little chef’s hat down over her face. I took a sneak peak out of the corner of my eye and saw that she too was sneaking, only little bits of chocolate jimmies that were sure to ruin her appetite for dinner, which followed. I suggested she put them on the cookies for later, which inspired her to load one of her cookies with an abundant mixture of everything, calling it a “fancy dessert cookie.”

Decorating Valentine Cookies

As the room buzzed with laughter and chatting I watched the children beam over their designs. I thought to myself that creations a professional pastry chef can execute with a frosting filled piping bag couldn’t match what these kids made. Not because a pastry chief lacks any technical skills, but because of the abandon exhibited in their creations that would be very difficult for any adult to match.

Booh beamed too at her squiggly trails of frosting that traveled up and over the rainbow sprinkles with thick squirts, centered off with a jellied heart or bean. In contrast the cookies I had decorated were symmetrical in design, or had been fashioned with letters that spelled “I (heart) U” and “I C U,” laced with little rainbow sprinkles.

Valentine Cookies

As they finished up, each family put their little masterpieces to the side of the room on parchment squares to dry. Booh’s “fancy dessert cookie” spilled candies all over the floor as we moved it to the side table. When viewing the collective of cookies, the ones decorated by adults droned order and fashion amidst the chaos of the children’s wild and asymmetrical creations.

At the end of class, each child received a bag to carry their cookies in. Booh decorated her bag with stickers and gobs of red glitter glue (which does not dry quickly for those of you who aren’t in the know). To everyone’s chagrin, the containers were too big to be set upright into the bags. And because the bags were laced with glitter glue that would take a good week to dry, we had to place the cookies on their sides, smearing frosting and jimmies up against the plastic tops.

Valentine's Day

After class we set out into the cold and windy parking lot to hurry home to share our creations with Booh’s Daddy. Inside the bag (a collection of wild abandon and controlled deliverance) cookies continued to smear frosting on the lid and the backside of one another. I placed the glitter glue ridden bag atop the car as I buckled Booh into her booster seat, the wind pushing the door against my backside. And then I heard it – a great thud at my heels! The wind had knocked the bag off the car’s hood and smashed it down onto the pavement.

When we arrived home, Booh proudly handed the bag over to her Daddy. He pulled out a container filled with bits and pieces of cookies jumbled up with pink and purple frosting, textured with sprinkles. Without inquiry, he removed the container’s lid and selected the only bare broken piece of sugar cookie heart that stood pure among the mangled mess, scooping off the frosting and jimmies that clung to the lid. He smiled and Booh beamed back.

“Happy Valentime’s Day, Dadda,” she said.

Winter Tree Study

February 9, 2009

Every morning at 6:30, Booh and I snuggle up on the couch and watch the morning winter sky light up as the sun slowly rises above the hills.  We’ve been recording the morning temperature, time, phases of the moon, weather conditions and any nature observations we can make from the window.  The coldest temperature we’ve recorded this year was negative 12-degrees … 24-degrees below freezing!  On that day our nature observation was steam coming off of the river!

This was the same day that Booh noticed patterns the branches of the deciduous trees made and how the morning sky made patches of negative space in between.  I decided to do a winter tree study with her and I came up with two projects I wanted to share.

Winter Tree Study Collage


The first one was a collage project.  After painting watercolor paper the color of the sky, we used strips of brown and black construction paper and glued them to our canvas of blue.  The idea was to glue one tree together first, followed by a second tree of a different color, and so on, creating the illusion of depth.  As you can see above (collage on left), Booh had her own methodology. I wanted to add more to mine but ran out of time.  – When we glued the strips of construction paper onto our dried blue canvas, we allowed the strips to project off of the page, and when we are done I trimmed the strips to make a smooth edge

Tree Study with BeeswaxBEESWAX

Continuing with our Winter Tree Study, we used Stockmar modelling beeswax and made little sculptures of our deciduous tree observations.  This time we added the river with its snowy bank and ice floating by.  

These medallions make a great addition to our winter nature table.  I’d like to make one for spring, summer and autumn with her too to add to our nature table as the seasons change.

The Mystical Experience

January 30, 2009

Greek Orthodox Christening Collage

Booh’s cousin on her daddy’s side was the godmother for this little girl being Christened. A very formal affair, drenched in old traditions. The inside of this church is so beautiful with it’s stained glass windows, golden orthodox icons, candles and marble. It’s a very special place; however, these photos don’t do the glory of images inside this church justice!

When Booh was about 3 years old she went to service with her Thea (Greek for Aunt). Above the pews is a dome with orthodox icons, including angels. There is a balcony where the choir sits which can not be seen by the folks below. They started to sing and Booh looked up towards the golden angles and said to her Thea, “The angels are singing!”

They really know how to set these places for the open hearted to have a mystical experience.

Obama Icon

January 25, 2009

Kimberly, my flickr friend, turned me on to where we could join the masses and turn one of our photos into an “Obama Icon.”  Seeing as Booh and I are dreadfully sick this weekend and are looking for ways to entertain ourselves, we clowned around and made a few, including this one of the two of us.  I asked her to come up with a word to post to the bottom and only “Love” would do.  We’ve been doing a snuggling along side all of our sniffing, sneezing and coughing … with love as our strongest medicine.  She’s my little love bug! –  Make your own at obamiconme.pastemagazine.com.