Guest Post: Jennifer Flores on DIY

jbs-130516_68We are thrilled to have as our guest today Jennifer Flores.  Blogging since 2007, Jennifer is the writer behind Rambling Renovators, a chronicle of the renovations, DIY adventures, creative projects, and home life she shares with her husband and daughter at their home in Toronto. Offline, Jennifer focuses on bringing the blogging community and lifestyle brands together as the Founder and driving force behind BlogPodium, Canada’s Conference for Lifestyle and Design Bloggers.

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I’ve always been a DIYer. From the time I would make clothes for my dolls to now when I make felt food for my daughter’s play kitchen, I’ve always found joy in doing and making things myself. But in this world of Pinterest and Instagram where your feeds are filled with picture-perfect projects from seemingly over-achieving women, that joy can be short-lived.

Where we once derived pleasure from the simple act of learning a skill and using it to create something uniquely ours, nowadays the pleasure might not come until after our home-baked meal/Christmas craft/upcycled thrift store find generates likes and repins from dozens of strangers. And I think that’s when doing it yourself becomes a don’t. Social media has really allowed us to expand our ideas of what’s possible. I’ve been inspired by countless projects on Pinterest. I’ve dusted off the sewing machine, wielded the glue gun, and mastered the miter saw because others have done it so why can’t I? And that’s a good thing! It should be good enough. But still.

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There is that feedback loop now that didn’t exist before. The need not only to do the thing but to share it as well. Increasingly, Doing It Yourself does not necessarily mean Doing It For Yourself. As a blogger, I’m well aware of the currency a clever and well-executed DIY brings: comments, page views, re-pins. Even in offline life, there is satisfaction in saying “Oh this? I made it myself”. When you start to seek that external acceptance though, you set standards that might be impossible to meet.

Then there’s the idea that DIY is somehow a step backwards, a regression to times when there was an expectation for a woman to be domestic. When did DIY become a four-letter word? To me, DIY is a choice and in some ways, an inevitability. If I’ve been given the skills and natural talents to be able to craft and create things, shouldn’t I do just that? My inability to throw a football is just as strong as my ability to throw a stylish fete. Neither of these define me as more or less of a person. It just is. I think DIY is just another facet of one’s personality, expressed in physical form. Just like we all have a singer and a painter inside of each of us (albeit at different levels of ability), we all have a DIYer inside us. And when one chooses to express that ability, online or offline, I think it’s a very beautiful thing.

What My Graveyard of DIY Projects Taught Me About Parenting

Behold the graveyard of DIY projects.

There is a box of papers, colorful scissors with various edges, a hodgepodge of stickers, stamps and decals residing on a shelf in my office closet.  Last year I discarded a two-inch stack of recipes torn from magazines promising mouth-watering delicacies.  A clear, plastic, zippered pouch that contains two spools of soft, chocolatey brown yarn and a partially completed scarf resting on needles has followed us to two homes and remains under my bed.

I had never given much thought to the DIY culture until I became a mom and then I couldn’t escape it.  Personalized Valentine’s Day cards, hand-stitched Halloween costumes, laboured over meals, ornately designed snack foods, and play dates requiring more scheduling and production than a low-budget highschool musical seemed to be the norm. I mean, WTF ever happened to just knocking on someone’s door and playing with a Skip-it in the yard while eating FunDip?  And then just when I thought I had it somewhat figured out, Pinterest came along and upped the game.

I spent years on that hamster wheel trying to do it all and do it “right”, but the years have brought me three busy boys, and an acceptance that “good enough” is really good enough.  I learned to identify, appreciate and accept my limitations.

This year I did make my son’s skeleton costume for Halloween but it was the process more than the end product that proved to be “pin-worthy”.  My son and I worked together to turn my son’s vision into reality.  He learned the importance of communication and teamwork.  I learned there are no perfect skeletons but there are happy kids.

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Being honest with myself is difficult.  I used to feel that doing everything for myself was somehow a reflection of my worth as a mother.  If the Valentine’s Day cards were perfect, than somehow this meant that I was a good mother, a kind mother, a patient mother, the mother that we are all supposed to be.  Never mind that it was a grueling process with me snatching the scissors from my boy’s hand while muttering with exasperation, “I’ll do it”.  Never mind that while eating a store-bought birthday cake at little Jimmy’s party or surveying the parade of made in China Buzz Light Year costumes knocking on my door, it never once crossed my mind that these mothers were “bad” mothers, lazy mothers or not the mothers that we are all supposed to be.

I thought that people were judging but it was really me who was doing the judging.

There is a part of me that does long for DIY projects.  I am nostalgic for the lost arts that generations before were commonplace.  I am amazed when my husband fixes things around the house without consulting You Tube.  It’s his confidence that I admire as much as the skill.  Now when I find myself lost in a chosen project, it’s the sense of calm and the absence of expectations that I find as rewarding as the final project.

My experience with parenting and DIY projects is very similar.  At first I was lured by the glossy images promising picture perfection but it’s the fails: the shattered glass, the burnt dough, the botched hemline – that’s when the real learning occurs.  It’s often the most basic projects, the ones that are the least glamorous or fun, that most need mastering and bring about the greatest sense of accomplishment.

The New Domesticity: More Choices

I read Emily Matchar’s Homeward Bound: Why Women are Embracing the New Domesticity shortly after it came out. Of course I did; I’m interested in urban homesteading and had just opened a store along these lines. Soon after though, I came to the realization that I couldn’t continue working on the store – it just wasn’t compatible with my home life with young kids.

This work snapshot, though it involved challenges, still encapsulates to me a lot of positives. I was able to choose to try a venture, and I was able to choose to stop. I think about this when I hear the term women (and sometimes men) “opting out” which has negative connotations. I like to focus on the “opting” part, which means there is a choice or options, which I see as a good thing.

I’ve chosen to stay home for a few years while my kids are young; I’m choosing to return to my paid work as a lawyer when they are in school. Maybe you are making similar choices; maybe yours are opposite. I appreciate the frankness of my work colleague who once said of my decision to stay home: “I don’t know how you do it. I’m never happier than on Sunday night, when I know I can have a break from home and go to work.” We shared a laugh and that was it. No drama. She knows I know she loves her kids and is raising them well with a knowledge of herself; I hope I am doing the same.

I like being at home. I like doing things with my hands as well as my head, so I often make things: bodycare products, arts and crafts, toys, gifts, dinner. Making do is also something I do well. The “new domesticity”, as Matchar calls it, makes staying at home more interesting for me – often making something, with its space for creativity and a personal touch, is more fun and satisfying than buying it.

But not always. Sometimes making something is actually quite hard, or too time-consuming, or just not fun. In these cases, I either go without it, or if I need it, I relish being able to go online or to the store and employ cash or plastic to buy it. Ah, the luxury of choice.

I’m also not sure I agree that women (and some men) who are opting for the new domesticity somehow become detached from the collective action that makes the world a better place. Does knitting your own scarf or chopping wood for your own heat really mean that you can’t join a protest or attend a meeting or sign a petition, especially in the world of online communication?

I’ve met many people who are staying at home for various reasons, and these people are at least as active, and often more active, in their involvement in the causes that are close to them than they would be if they were working full-time. They are advocating for changes in their children’s schools, to protect the environment, for a wide range of the social issues that they believe in. I really am not persuaded that choosing the new domesticity equates with civil irrelevance.

The emergence of the new domesticity, or any unconventional path for that matter, is a good thing insofar as it’s a manifestation of greater choices. I understand that if workplaces offered greater options for its workers that these alternatives might be less attractive or necessary. But while we work toward those changes in the future, it’s good to have greater options for the present. The traction of the new domesticity seems to show that these options are sorely needed.

The Magic and the Mystery of Making Things

alafoss-lopi-1231I make and craft and create to discover the magic and the mystery in things.  Pickles?  I can make those!  Handknit sweater?  That, too!  A felted handbag?  I learned how to do it one summer seven years ago.  Lip balm?  I made some this year!

What all of these things have in common is not necessity or having to make do or any kind of motive of need or fashion.  Nor is crafting a particular passion.  I can go for months without taking up a new project.

What they have in common is that I wanted to unravel the mystery of something that struck me as beautiful and rare.  I loved making lip balm with my boys not only because it was a great idea for Valentine’s favours, but mostly because it took all of the mystery out of something I use several times a day.  I had been paying an outrageous $40 per tube of lip treatment because after many, many tries, it was the only one that worked.  Learning how to make my own, made cosmetics something totally accessible, and I could control the quality and the contents.  That was a powerful feeling.

I have known how to knit since I was a child, and my mother, bless her patience, helped along many a hobbled project when I was little.  Most of them I abandoned.  In elementary school, I think I may have completed a knitted bear, and perhaps a blanket to go with it, and in high school I made myself one simple summer sweater, but I was not a star knitter by any stretch of the imagination.  My mother was.  She knitted, crocheted and sewed the most beautiful and intricate things.  She always had a project on the go.  When I got to university, and my mother was an ocean away, I happened to see some gorgeous Icelandic wool on sale in a bin in big department store, of all places.  It came in a cellophane package, with about ten balls of wool for the main colour of the sweater and one ball each of the secondary colours.  There was a pattern for a chunky fairisle sweater, and it looked so wonderful for the Montreal winter that was already hinting at its severity.  (I had moved from Egypt.  I was not at all used to Canadian winter.)

I love the internet!  This is not the pattern I used 25 years ago, but that's the model, complete with her white headband.

I love the internet! This is not the pattern I used 25 years ago, but that’s the model, complete with her white headband.

At first, I just looked at it longingly, feeling that it was something so far out of my reach, and then I thought, “No, I have what I need to be able to make that.”  I bought the wool and the needles, and I set out to make it.

The only problem was that in all the knitting I had done, my mother had always cast on the stitches for me.  I had never done that alone.  I didn’t have any choice but to go it alone this time, so I taught myself how to cast on simply by closing my eyes and remembering the motions of my mother’s hands as she did it.  There was a trick and a rhythm, and after a few false starts I found them.  I was amazed at the time to have been able to draw that out of my memory.  Muscle memory by proxy.

Making that sweater was so much more than just arming myself for a cold winter.  I felt such a sense of accomplishment in moving myself from beginner to intermediate knitter, and my joy at succeeding at the project was immense.  I wore that sweater for years with great pride.  I made two more, all with the same sense of joy, and with increasing confidence and willingness to improvise with colour and pattern.  It was also contagious: several other women in my dorm went off and bought the same kit, and we’d sit and knit together, avoiding term papers and the drama of the wider world for just that little while.  Making our own sweaters gave us a common purpose and a space apart from the world that worked so hard to define us.

The moment of remembering my mother’s hands casting on my stitches is a touchstone for me.  I think of it often and fondly as a minor miracle of memory and motion and chance.  How many times would I have actually witnessed her casting on stitches?  How carefully was I watching?  I often wonder if or what motions of my hands my own kids will remember years hence.  We don’t plan these moments, but in some way, shape or form, I hope that there will come a time when they are trying something and can close their eyes and see me doing it.

At Issue: Does DIY DYI (Do You In)?

For our At Issue discussion this week, we are looking at the pleasures and perils of doing it yourself.  We will be discussing the debate of whether DIY culture is enriching and helps people to be independent from the marketplace or whether it creates (yet another) sphere in which we are measured against impossible ideals or whether new domesticity amounts to nothing more than a regression to the domestic sphere.

Are you more drawn to Pinterest Fails than Pinterest-worthy pics?  Are you a master or a menace with a power drill?  Do you aspire to be magazine-worthy with your projects and décor, or are you content to either farm out the work or not do it at all?

Join us this week as we discuss our own takes on whether DIY is Doing You In.

jbs-130516_68We are thrilled to welcome as our guest this month Jennifer Flores.  You may know Jennifer already from her amazing design blog, Rambling Renovators.  The blog chronicles Jennifer’s and her husband’s adventures in renovating their 1950s Toronto home.  She keeps it real, and keeps it gorgeous!  Take a tour of her house, and you will see what I mean.  We got to meet Jen in person through a blogging conference that she organizes, Blog Podium.  We have attended for two consecutive years, and we always learn so much from the presenters and other conference-goers.

In the mean time, for a great discussion of the many facets of this debate, check out this review of Emily Matchar’s Homeward Bound: Why Women Are Embracing the New Domesticity Ann Friedman summarizes wonderfully the push and pull of feminism, the workplace and the new cult of domesticity.

Hockey Nook DIY

I am a hockey mom.  It’s not all I am, of course, but with three boys in competitive hockey it sometimes really does feel like hockey fills every nook and cranny of our lives.  I took that feeling to its literal extreme this week with this hockey DIY project, and in less than 15 minutes, I filled a tiny corner of Middlest’s room with a hockey vignette.

My project began with a trip to Blacks.  We were invited to visit the store on Yonge at Eglinton to experience their Playground for Photography, and I was inspired the minute I walked through the doors.  We were introduced to a myriad of ideas for taking photos to the next level, from pillow cases, to phone covers to bound books, but I was most captivated by the gallery wall.  Humble instagram photos really came to life grouped together and mounted on interesting surfaces.  (I will be writing about my own gallery of photos from my daily walks for our Photography Month in June!)

Blacks kindly offered us a sample of a mounted photo, and I chose one of Middlest right after he had scored a goal.  Here is the original, taken with my iPhone in less than ideal conditions through plexiglass and with him in motion.  I mention this because you really do not need to begin with a perfect photo for this to work.

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I mistakenly shot the photo with a filter on my phone camera, but it was a fortuitous mistake.  I then added shading to the corners and deep focus to blur the edges with Phototoaster.

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This is the image I gave to Blacks, and I chose to mount it on a metal plate that really complimented the tone and texture of the image.  Metal wall art begins at $34.99 for an image that measures 8 x 8, which is the size that I had.

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I love the mounted image, and I was so excited to find a place to hang it.  The photo is small, but I wanted to give it pride of place, so I knew that it would have to be part of a vignette, and the wall by Middlest’s bed was the perfect spot for it.

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Books are as big a part of our lives as hockey, and they really fill every nook and cranny of this house, so it made sense to include books in the vignette, too.  I put up an invisible book shelf from Umbra to ground the vignette with a stack of hockey books.

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Then I set one of the many, many hockey trophies this boy has already collected on top of the books.  And voila!  A quick and simple project to honour the ways we fill our days (and nights, and weekends, and holidays, and….)

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Naturally Dyeing Easter Eggs With Kids

2011_04 - various 487I love colouring Easter eggs with the kids, and we do this naturally with items out of our pantry.  The kids love it too.  When I last asked the kids if they wanted to dye eggs, my eldest immediately set himself at the counter and said, “Let’s get out the turmeric!”  So we headed to the cupboard and fridge and retrieved our dye sources: turmeric, onion skins, beets, and purple cabbage.

Making the dyes is quick and easy.  Just add equal parts of the dye source and water into a pot and add a splash of vinegar (about a tablespoon for each cup of water). The vinegar helps to set the dye, so don’t skip it. And don’t worry too much about quantities here, which will result is slight variations of colour, but it will all work.  Then boil the contents of the pots for 15 to 20 minutes, let cool, and strain.  And just like that, you’ve got your natural dyes!

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Playing with the natural colours is fun, but here’s a partial code when using white eggs (using brown eggs will create different colour tones):

– purple cabbage makes light blue tones

– beets makes pink tones

– turmeric makes yellow tones

– onion skins makes red tones

We got additional dyes by colour mixing.

I do this activity with my boys, so we dyed pre-boiled eggs in the cooled dyes in order that they can participate more fully in the process.  But you can get different and usually deeper colour tones by boiling eggs directly in the pots of dye.  I’d love to have green eggs this year, and read that red cabbage will transfer green dye on brown eggs, so that’s on our “to try” list.

There was almost no waste from the dyeing process, as we ate both the boiled beets (peeled and sprinkled with a little red wine vinegar) and the boiled cabbage (plain! the boys pulled it out of the pot and ate all of it without a word from me).

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There are lots of ways to decorate the eggs.  We’ve experimented with tying elastics around the eggs or applying stickers (paper hole reinforcements are fun) before dyeing.  But our favourite for hands-on fun is to draw on still-warm freshly boiled eggs with beeswax crayons.  The heat melts the wax and the crayons just slide on – it’s a lovely sensory experience. When the eggs were too hot to hold at first, the boys drew on them while they perched in a paper carton; later they could hold them in their hands.

If you’d like a sheen on the eggs, rub a little oil on them after dyeing. I usually present our eggs out on our playsilks so I haven’t applied the oil before.  But it is pretty and I think the boys would enjoy the process so this year I’ll probably use paper instead of the silks to cushion the eggs.

As with all DIY projects with children, it’s important to focus on the process. My first time doing this with the children (who were obviously too young), I had their attention for 5 minutes and then basically dyed the eggs on my own which I enjoyed, but kind of missed the point.  Except that maybe it didn’t, because now the boys line up at the table when it’s time to dye our eggs, ready to chop cabbage or pour the vinegar or draw on the eggs.  It’s all part of the process, and has become one way in which we welcome the spring.

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A Labour of Love: My Dollhouse Adventure: Guest Post by Holly Forsythe

If you have little kids who enjoy adorable movies about piglets—and are, therefore, quite possibly the sort of person who is thinking about building a dollhouse—you’ll probably recall the opening sequence of the 1995 movie “Babe.”  The first shot depicts the foyer of a lovely Georgian home, with elegant furnishings and stained glass lunettes, which is suddenly disrupted by the intrusion of a giant thumb. As the camera pans out, we realise we’ve been looking at the interior of a dollhouse that Farmer Hoggett, the film’s central human character, lovingly embellishes for his granddaughter. The moment gives us a reassuring wink about the controlled and affectionate handling of the miniature world portrayed in the film. It also gives us an early insight into Farmer Hoggett, whose patient, imaginative, and inventive nature enables him to perceive the latent talents in the story’s porcine protagonist. You have to be a certain kind of person to build a dollhouse.

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I wasn’t necessarily planning to be that sort of person. My daughter, Grace, fell in love with a dollhouse in a waiting room. She talked about the toy for months. She’s an unusually gentle, thoughtful, and self-denying little old soul, so when she asked for a dollhouse for her birthday, I didn’t have the heart to say no…even though the prospect terrified me a little.

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You can buy dollhouses in quite a few different forms: as kits, ready-made, with or without furniture, and in a number of different scales. I was a little surprised that the major toy stores don’t really carry proper dollhouses. Ours stocked three kinds of mass-produced sets, but they all seemed more babyish and generic than what we had in mind. We also decided against the generic toystore sets because their scale was too small. The most common scale for proper dollhouse furniture is 1:12 (also called “one-inch scale”): that means that one foot of length is represented by one inch in the dollhouse (so a doorway, that would be seven feet high in reality, is 7 inches high in the dollhouse). The toystore brands commonly used a 1:18 scale (“two-third inch scale”), which would make it difficult to collect furniture from eclectic sources.

The Little Dollhouse Company, located near Mount Pleasant and Eglinton, is pretty much the only dollhouse store in Toronto. There used to be brick-and-mortar dollhouse stores in Cambridge and Elora, but they’re only online now.  We started looking around online on Craigslist, Kijiji, and Ebay. There were quite a few mass-produced dollhouse systems available second-hand and also quite a few kits in unopened boxes: not everyone has the resolve to build a kit, but if you do, that kind of dollhouse is a keeper.

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By the time my husband lucked out with a great kit online, Grace’s birthday was looming very close, so we decided to break the construction into two phases: we hired a student from George Brown to do the basic construction so Grace would have a present to open; afterwards, I would complete the finishing touches to the structure (porch, gingerbread, fireplace), paint, and furnish it. If you hire someone to build your kit for you, I recommend that you establish a fee for the entire project: our poor student worked day and night to meet his deadline and we definitely went over budget paying him by the hour. That being said, I think it was a smart decision to have the main structure built by someone who knew how to make things square and level.

The kit itself was very clear about the assembly process. It had diagrams to correspond with each sheet of plywood and very detailed instructions. It’s tedious but essential to read the instructions completely before beginning. If you’re a “wing it” person, this is not your sort of project. The process is broken into stages: at each stage, you carefully remove specified pieces from the plywood sheet using an exacto knife, sand them, paint them, and glue them in a precise order following a diagram. The results are much tidier if you paint before assembly (I painted the student’s part of the structure after he assembled it). Most of the online guides assume that you’ll use house paint, but acrylic craft paint worked just fine for me: since you have to paint pieces at many separate stages, it’s smart to use premixed colours. I got small bottles of premixed colours at the local craft store for a dollar each (the acrylic in the crafter’s/stencilling aisle is way cheaper than the artist’s acrylic). You need wood glue for a lasting hold, but you can sparingly use your glue gun to hold pieces in place while the wood glue slowly dries. This will allow you to hug your children instead of standing around holding gingerbread to the roof while it dries (haunting memory). And you will need to hug your children for inspiration. As I say, I only did the superficial decorations on Grace’s dollhouse but, working from morning drop-off to afternoon pickup and then again from their bedtime till mine, it took me ten days to finish.

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In our case, the structure was assembled before the interior was decorated. In rooms with hard-to-reach places, I painted (with the premixed acrylic) but I wallpapered the more open spaces (I found some really pretty pads of paper for scrapbookers, which was heavier than wrapping paper). We’re furnishing gradually. Most pieces of furniture cost at least $5: to furnish a room, it will generally cost you around $30, depending on your source. I found a dollhouse furniture maker on Etsy who had reasonable prices and contacted her to arrange a starter kit order. We raised $70 for the furniture from the guests at Grace’s birthday party and that will get us the living room, dining room, bathtub, bed and dresser (plus shipping!). We’re going to let the rest of it be a labour of love instead of desperation.

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No matter how you do it, setting up a proper dollhouse is going to be relatively expensive. If you decide to take on some of the construction or decoration of the house, it is also going to be fairly time-consuming. This is probably why the people who are really into dollhouses don’t make them for children. There is a quiet subculture of dollhouse hobbyists who enjoy building and furnishing elaborate structures for their own satisfaction. For the most part, these grownups wouldn’t be very comfortable letting children play with the product of their labours. If you come across one of these experts in your dollhouse adventure, don’t let them know that you think toys are for children. Hardcore dollhouse hobbyists have immersed themselves in a special kind of creative impracticality: benefit from their knowledge, use them as a resource, and you can substantially limit your own dip into that pool. Hopefully, my first-and-only-time experiences in dollhouse building can help save you even more time (certainly) and money (hopefully) if you decide to take the plunge.

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Holly Forsythe Paul has worked at the University of Toronto as an adjunct professor of English since 2003.  She lives with her talented husband and two lovely daughters in Toronto.

 

Easy DIY Hand-Painted Glasses

 

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I am not much of a DIYer.  Instead I prefer to think of myself as a COOPTer.  Celebrator Of Other People’s Talents.  I am under no delusions that I can do everything well enough to meet my exceedingly high expectations, so I graciously turn to experts and pay them for their talents.  I only try what I know I can execute but retile my bathroom floor? Sew Halloween costumes? Hook my own rug?  No.  Not for me.

Since the theme of this week is DIY activities with kids, I have quite craftily I think, repurposed a previous post.  Here’s one attempt at a DIY that turned out nicely.  And fetched $140 for the boys’ school at silent auction.

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My boys’ school hosts a silent auction every two years to raise funds for the school’s various programs.  This year they asked that each class contribute a collaborative piece of art to be auctioned off.

I like this idea because it involves the children in working towards a common goal, which ultimately benefits them.

I volunteered to head up the project in my eldest’s grade 2 class.  I scoured Pinterest for age appropriate ideas and finally decided on these hand-painted tumblers and I followed the instructions outlined by Savvy Sugar.

It was a good choice.  The project was easy to manage, required few supplies and was completely child-driven.  I didn’t want the project to require adult participation.  I wanted the students to feel a sense of accomplishment working together, creating something beautiful, and contributing to the school’s silent auction without the micro-managing help from an adult.

Gathering the materials was easy:

The hardware store for quality, sturdy glass tumblers ($10.00 for a package of 4)

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The craft store for enamel acrylic paint in the primary colours plus white ($20.00 for four bottles of paint)

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A Styrofoam plate for mixing colours (recycled from my veggie drawer)

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Two cookie sheets lined with parchment paper

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Cotton swabs (1 package from the dollar store)

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Before we got started, I reviewed with the students all of the instructions, outlining why it’s a good idea to read through the step-by-steps before starting any project.

Since we would be mixing the colours to create unique blends, I had the students refresh my memory of what colours are created by mixing the primary colours.

After breaking into groups of two (and two groups of three), the students discussed with their partner what colours they planned to dot their tumbler.  It’s recommended not to use more than 4 colours, or else the colours start to muddle together and lose their vibrancy.

Step 1:

Mix your colours.  It’s a nice idea to decide on a palate but not necessary.  What I enjoyed was listening to the partners decide what colours they wanted to paint the tumblers and the reason for it.  The best answer I overheard was, “let’s make it look like a sunrise!”

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Step 2:

Lightly dab a cotton swab into the paint and then dab the glass tumbler.  One dab goes a long way – about 5-7 dots.  It’s important that the dots are not too goopy or else the texture of the glass feels funny, not to mention caring for the glass is more challenging when the surface is raised.

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Step 3:

Continue dabbing until satisfied, about halfway to 2/3 way up the glass.  There’s a fraction lesson here!

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Step 4:

Allow the glasses to dry upside down on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  After about 1 hour the glasses are ready for the oven.

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Step 5:

Yes, I said oven.  I know, I was worried too!  Place the glasses into a cold oven.  Turn the oven on to 350 degrees.  After 30 minutes turn off the heat and allow the glasses to stay in the heated oven for 1 hour.

Step 6:

Once the hour is up, your glasses are ready for use.  Be careful when washing – use warm water and soap, hand-wash and air dry.

The finished product turned out pretty fantastic!  Bookmark this idea if you’re looking for an easy to do homemade gift.  I think grandparents would love these!

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* Take it a step further: try hand-dotting a glass platter or glass plates.  The possibilities are endless!

 

 

 

Theme Week: DIY with and for Kids

Meg started us off last week with her DIY project to hang kids’ art without marking up the walls.

For the rest of this week, join us as we share our latest DIY projects, the good, the bad and the ugly.

In the mean time, if you are doing any spring cleaning of closets this week, hang on to your stray gloves to make these amazing stuffed toys.  They make an excellent rainy day activity.

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