Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Kidstir Review: October 2014
Recently, I mentioned how we just discovered a new subscription box about cooking for kids. Noodle has gotten interested in cooking every since he saw "Master Chef Jr."  There are few different boxes like this out there but I decided to try Kidstir because I liked the fact that they included little tools and extras in each box.

The theme for October was Spooky Celebration Kit!  Perfect timing!

This month, we made everything in the kit!  We hosted a "Legend of Sleepy Hollow" viewing and Noodlebug made the Yummy Mummies to share.

The kit came with the candy eyes.  Noodle needed some help with the frosting but did almost everything on his own with me as his sous chef.

We bought cider from Trader Joe's and added the Witch's Brew skull and crossbones for a "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" viewing.  Very easy to do and fun. The skull and crossbones didn't really float but the kids liked them.

Finally, we made the Scary-oli.  The kit came with a pasta press. Noodle was so proud of his finished product. And they tasted great!!!

I can't wait to see what November brings!  Here is a sneak preview for December:

If you subscribe now, you are guaranteed to get the December box.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Art is You 2014 Recap: Frida Kahlo-llage

Day Two!

For my second class, I decided to really stretch myself by taking a class with Andrea Matus deMeng.  I have been a huge fan of Frida Kahlo since I was thirteen years old so I was immediately attracted by the subject matter of her class. Andrea taught us to collage on a large scale using Frida Kahlo as inspiration. Here is an example of Andrea's work:

(photo borrowed from and owned by Andrea Matus deMeng)

So gorgeous! And it is big!!  We were asked to bring a 20 inch by 36 inch unstretched canvas.  I ended up bringing a 24x36 stretched canvas.

My work table is in the foreground.  Although I dearly love Frida, I have been disappointed at how popular and mainstream she has become over the years. I already have plenty of Frida items in my house. I decided to use my grandmother's face in my piece.

Our first task was to cover the canvas with a variety of papers for the background:

I am a big fan of straight edges and right angles and it has taken me years to feel comfortable with randomly tearing and gluing down paper. I'm pretty fast now!!!  I tried to include a few special items that referenced my grandmother even though they probably wouldn't show.  The writing that looks a bit Arabic is actually shorthand. My grandmother went to business school as a young woman and was very good at shorthand.

Next, we started laying out our image. Andrea called it "auditioning."  We took the time to cut out images and shapes and lay them out with our face images:

This was REALLY hard for me! I got blocked and needed Andrea's help.  I had so many botanical images but it really needed some architectural elements.  Luckily, a classmate had brought a pile of postcards to share and many were of buildings from around the world!  I used an Indian palace in the headdress and Arabic doorways for the shoulders. Andrea gave me the idea of hanging butterfly wings down over the forehead for a pop of color.

The next frustrating part was the body:

I just couldn't get it to look the way I wanted!!!

Next, we had to sweep aside our "audition" to create a color wash on the canvas:

I don't think I made good choices with my color selection.  My images ended up fading into the background as you will see later.

Then, it was time to start collaging down the elements:

You can see I added onto the body but it still isn't right.  I need something to flesh it out and unify it.  You can also see how the top of the headdress is fading into the background.  I then darkened the upper and lower background color.

In a last minute attempt to unify the torso and emulate with Andrea did with her Frida piece, I tried dripping a dark blue paint along the bottom. It wouldn't drip.  I ended up wiping most of it off.

It did make a nice splash of color on the bottom and I like how it change the color of the hip pieces. The canvas still looked really empty so I added some diamond pieces going down the sides.  AND THEN WE RAN OUT OF TIME!!!

I still need to figure out how to handle the torso.  I am planning on using some pastels to define the outline of both the main image and the diamonds.  I think if I smudge some black around them, the images will pop more. I also need to define the edges of the canvas. And it needs something in the top center!!! I have an idea but we'll see if I can execute it!

I learned a lot from Andrea.  It was intimidating to try something this big. I still struggle with scale and trying to figure out how to the fill the canvas.  I would definitely take another class with Andrea, though!

Attending ART IS YOU Petaluma:

Next year's ART IS YOU will be April 22-26, 2015.  You can join the mailing list now so that you will know when registration opens. I STRONGLY suggest you attend at least two days.  This event is kind of like summer camp for artsy-craftsy types. Most people come and take classes for four or five days.  A lot of bonding occurs.  If you only come for one day, you really miss out on plugging into all of that energy and camaraderie.  I can't wait for next year!!!