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Art Kids Parenting

Four little fires

I like to think of art projects like little fires. First you gather your wood (the materials), you built it (get everything set-up) and then you light it. When inspiration strikes, you get burning.

I love the process of gathering the materials from the store (art, craft, book, hardware, etc) and have them all ready, meaning out and in view, so we can work when the mood strikes. Until I have a dedicated studio space this means transforming our dining table over the weekend, but here’s proof that it’s worth it: four projects done over the past four roughly four weeks that just sort of happened because the fire was ready to be lit.


The mini-zine

I got this idea from Austin Kleon. I never knew how to fold and tear a piece of paper like this until now, and it’s a little detail that makes it super easy to transform any piece of paper into a mini-zine. No idea where the story came from either.


Mixing by hand

Me: “Sam you want to do some painting?”
Sam: “Yes daddy!”
Slide out some large sheets of card stock. Squeeze tubes of different color paints on. Watch him mix. Repeat!


The paper laptop

Vivian created this paper model of a laptop complete with fold out keyboard, sitckers on the case, kick stand, and laptop sleeve with handles. It’s just like what her parents use, and she even drew a browser on the screen showing “Google: Unicorns” on it with the search result.

No one helped her, no one even knew she was working on it. We were just going about doing chores while she was busy doing something at the dining-table-turned-studio.


The box critters

Kav made these with the kids, starting with some cutouts from a magazine and expanding into homemade hands and eyes and tails of all sorts. Reusing materials from around the house is a bonus, as it the fact that this art gets named and played with after. This genre of art project (box critter-making?) is an underrated wellspring that we’ll be sure to tap into more often.


I love art projects. Keep burning those fires!

Categories
What I learned last week

What I learned last week (#46)

Being a solo Dad was pretty great: But there is nothing like Mom getting home! While Kav was traveling last week I had a few things planned to keep the kids occupied, but Sam’s cold-from-hell ruined a lot of that. Fortunately it all worked out and there were plenty of toys, games, movies and crafts to keep us going, although Vivi did say she got “over Daddy’d” by the end of the week. 😂


My favorite book excerpt from the week:

Our first reaction to most of the statements (which we hear from other people) is an evaluation or judgment, rather than an understanding of it. When someone expresses some feeling, attitude or belief, our tendency is almost immediately to feel “that’s right,” or “that’s stupid,” “that’s abnormal,” “that’s unreasonable,” “that’s incorrect,” “that’s not nice.” Very rarely do we permit ourselves to understand precisely what the meaning of the statement is to the other person.

Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

More thoughts on work life balance:

Buy this car to go to work, go to work to pay for this car

Metric

Working to live often means giving up your life.

I know this dates me, but I’m nostalgic for that atmosphere of repose—the extended family dinners, the spontaneous outings, the neighborly visits. We haven’t completely lost these shared hours, of course. Time-use studies show that weekends continue to allow more socializing, civic activity, and religious worship than weekdays do. But Sundays are no longer a day of forced noncommerce—everything’s open—or nonproductivity. Even if you aren’t asked to pull a weekend shift, work intrudes upon those once-sacred hours. The previous week’s unfinished business beckons when you open your laptop; urgent emails from a colleague await you in your inbox. A low-level sense of guilt attaches to those stretches of time not spent working.

I couldn’t agree more.


New productivity strategies: I’m enjoying (and trying the methods within) the often mentioned Getting Things Done by Steven Allen. Although it’s advocating for what some might at first glance seem to be a rigid way of operating, I am finding it more loose and freeing than I imagined. Why do we feel so good right before vacation: because we’re cleaning up and keeping things current. We’re closing down all our open loops, getting right with our commitments. Wouldn’t it be good to feel that way on a (somewhat) regular basis? I’ll try that kool aid.

Being organized means simply that where something is matches what it means to you.


The allure of country music: Maybe it’s due to living on a farm, but I’ve been dipping more into country music as of late. This was separate from learning about Ken Burn’s recent Country Music documentary. Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams are regularly getting played in the office. Especially The Essential Merle Haggard: The Epic Years.


The power of the project table: I set this up last week and left it going all week so the kids and I could do some art any time we felt like it. It was magic. We made all sorts of random stuff, and a special creation being a set of signs for the home office.


Something awesome: Snoop has a full-time blunt roller on staff

Snoop said the full-time position pays “$40 to $50,000 a year,” which means it’s actually a real job, and my high school guidance counselor lied to me.

I was probably qualified for this job a long time ago, but I’ve sadly let my skills atrophy.