August 30, 2016

Kids Art Week Wrapup

It took us more than the prescribed week, but Caitlyn and I did finish Carla Sonheim's Kids Art Week video lesson series. Here's a sampling of my favorites of our results:

cross-eyed owl
I painted this cross-eyed owl in the style of Jean Dubuffet. The process used salt as a resist with the watercolor, something I'd read about yet never tried (not really surprising since the amount of watercolor I do is pretty much zero). I really like the resulting texture! The black is an acrylic over the watercolor, something I doubt I would have thought to do on my own (mixing paint types, is that even allowed???). So this week was a win by Day Two: I learned two new things!

Day Three was all about collage art in the style of Robert Motherwell. This is Caitlyn's collage because I like it so much better than I like mine. Lots of movement and bold colors in hers. Mine is dull; I used a black crayon for my lines (as per instructions), but Caitlyn's painted lines are so much more vibrant. The collage process didn't really sing for me quite the way the watercolor did, but maybe that's more a reflection of the ingredients? Would it have been more appealing with other papers and a base that wasn't half a shopping bag?

well lined houses
These are our houses in the style of Hundertwasser. Again, I like Caitlyn's better than mine. I stayed too close to the instructions; Caitlyn used watercolor and I stuck with the suggested markers. Our marker collection, despite being a thing that fills a good size storage tub, is nevertheless full of markers I don't like. Many are old and the colors are fading (but not quite faded enough to throw out), and most of them came from basic kid sets so the colors aren't that great to begin with. Getting the colors to bleed nicely under a wash of water was also difficult since I either got no bleed at all or so much bleed that it was all mush. Caitlyn's painting has much better colors and a fun interpretation of the instructions while mine is rather, yawn, boring.

strange puppies
The week also included something Carla called "Picasso Dogs," which used collage and paint and an element of randomness to create vaguely cubist style dogs. I didn't care so much for this one, but in the interest of completeness, here are our results. I'll leave it to you to figure which dog belongs to Caitlyn and which to me.

We had a good time with Carla's videos, though, and I'm thinking about ways to keep elements of Kids Art Week in our usual routine. I really liked the directed nature of things; having an assignment works well for me and it provides Caitlyn with a starting point from which she can choose to off-road or not as the inspiration strikes. Carla has a collection of other art classes available via video as does Craftsy (and probably others). I've done a little poking at YouTube and so far haven't found anything that appeals (of course, that could be the result of not searching through YouTube with a sufficiently fine-tooth comb). So perhaps we'll try a class in watercolor later this fall.

August 26, 2016

Apple Processing Day


Our backyard apple tree produced 14 pounds of usable fruit this year. It took two of us, with the ladder and some careful contortioning, to harvest nearly all of it. I don't do anything to protect the fruit from the rest of Nature, no spraying and no little fruit socks. (I bought a package of fruit socks one year, and the process of getting one sock on one apple while I was still standing on the ground was challenging enough that I've never been inspired to try to do it from the top of a ladder.) The resulting fruit is occasionally occupied but rarely to the point where the entire apple is compromised. And since I'm cutting the apples up to process them anyway, it's not that big a deal to cut out the icky bits.

apple pie filling
I now have 6 pints and 2 quarts of apple pie filling in the freezer. I expect some of the pints will be thawed and warmed for winter breakfast toppings. And any pie I make will probably need both quarts of filling. I don't do skinny pies.

apple butter
And I have 20 half-pints of apple butter! This is the first year I've done apple butter, partly due to its reputation for taking hours and hours. Maybe it's just that my apples are on the softer side, but they cooked down quickly and then thickened before I'd managed to wash and sterilize all my jars. My apple butter is more intensely seasoned than the recipe, with the cinnamon quadrupled (at least) and the clove probably doubled. All the taste testers on hand declared it good before canning but I find I'm still wondering if I shouldn't have kept going with the spices.

I may surprise myself, but at the moment, I think that concludes the seasonal preserving for this year. It's less than I usually do (not mentioned: the pear preserve, the pear butter, the peach butter, the raisins, the bell peppers, and the zucchini) but I'm discovering a lack of motivation when I think of doing much more. Perhaps over the winter I'll spend some time figuring out why the things that I've done so willingly for the last decade or so suddenly have lost their shine.