Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Weekend Activities and Rock Painting

Another Memorial Day weekend has come and gone.  Where does the time go?  I hope you did something to commemorate those who fought to keep us free.  We spent some time sprucing up the yard and rehung our American flag on the front porch after adjusting the pole attached to the house. 

I have many relatives who have served or are serving in the Military.  All of my uncles on my mom's side and my dad's who were of age served during World War II, and they all came back alive, thank God!  My husband's father also served, and also returned.

Sadly they're all gone to a better place now.  Many of their graves got flags this weekend.

Here's a link to a very nice pdf file that tells you about when to display a flag at half staff, to denote mourning:  Flag document


My grands and I enjoyed some outdoor activities too.  The weather was surprisingly nice for Wisconsin, and Saturday was just about perfect.  Inspired by my recent Rita-encounter and discussion on painting things (see Rita Farro's blog, link at right, for her awesome projects -- especially her porch sofa and her washer and dryer), the girls were given authorization by Grampa to paint the rocks around our back yard patio slab.

First we assembled all our supplies.  I've been saving sticks from popsicles for occasions like this... they are perfect for stirring the paint or picking out small bugs.

Then we got ourselves properly garbed so as not to get paint in our hair or on our nice pink skirt...
With a paper plate or three, and some brushes their dad had in the garage, we were set for the afternoon.

Miss A was hard at work painting the turtle stepping stone.  No plain green turtles for this girl!  Give me orange!  Give me purple!

Miss E did one stone in black and white and decided she had done enough.  It's hard to get teenagers excited sometimes, but she did post it to Instagram...

Miss A continued, and used a sponge pouncer to add some nice color to one of the bigger stones.  And of course an artist always signs their work.  The date is down between the stones.
I sat at the table under the umbrella, supervising and prepared to reload pallets.  
I painted a flower pot to use in my sewing room.  The advantage to flower pots for storage is they are nice and heavy so they don't tip over when bumped.  I still have to glue the ribbon on to hide my uneven strip intersection.  The sealant made the pot nice and shiny.

If you're going to paint stones with children, here are a few tips:
  • Wash the stones with dish soap and rinse well.  They should be very dry before you start.
  • You will need a trash bag close by, and lots of paper towels and rags.
  • Keep soapy water on hand for color changes!  Kids tend to put LOTS of paint on the brush and don't always use it up before changing colors.
  • Use acrylic paint, the cheaper the better.  Use brushes you don't care about reusing because they get worn down if the stones are rough. 
  • Sponge brushes cover lots of territory.  Those tiny brushes that come in the box of paints are useless for a project like this.  Don't go smaller than 1/4 inch wide bristles for little kids.
  • Have lots of paper plates or meat trays available.  Mixing colors on the pallet is fun, but if you mix too many of them, you get brown.  Or a horrible sickly greenish-gray.
  • When brown or yucky green happens, start over.
  • Paint dries fast outside so pallets need frequent replenishing.
  • Use a coat of spray sealer to help the art work to last.  The artists will be disappointed if it's gone too soon.
  • Be ready to love whatever they do.  You're likely to get something along the lines of Picasso.  Or Big Bird.
  • Acrylic paint washes off MOST surfaces but be careful about your clothes.  It works on terra cotta, glass, concrete, wood and other surfaces.  You can mix it with fabric medium and heat set it to paint tote bags or clothing.
The artist giving her mom the nickel tour...
This was a fun activity for a weekend afternoon.  I enjoyed being outside and the girls enjoyed decorating the stones.  Now we're wondering what else we could decorate.  I think I have at least two ugly black suitcases...  and I have some Modge Podge in the resource center!

Get creative!