Self-Amusement

1) Drive down the middle of the road, through slush, to get to the hammer dulcimer teacher’s house. Have a fun lesson.

2) Eat at Veggie Grill – YUM.

3) Go to JoAnn’s Fabrics. Buy 4 small felt squares and 2 pounds of polyfill. Those are going to be some mighty stuffed teddy bears!

4) Come home and resurrect clawhammer banjo playing and remember how much I LOVE it! See below.

5) Put on heart monitor. Open app on phone. Run up and down stairs like a maniac. Bounce on mini trampoline like a maniac. Heart rate feels like it’s way up there but it’s not. My resting heart rate is 47-52. Burn 77 calories in 10 minutes. Go back to the (incredibly rare, almost never watch) mindless TV. Stellar day. The snow and ice that turned into slush is now, with the rain, turning into flooding.

 

 

Play Dough Pallooza

Auspicious beginnings. Making play dough for 20+ kids and 15+ adults

Auspicious beginnings. Making play dough for 20+ kids and 15+ adults for today’s volunteer gig

After a few hours. Let's just step it up and double batch the double batches

After a few hours. Let’s just step it up and double batch the double batches

Food color! Taste the rainbow.

Food color! Taste the rainbow.

Become one with the rainbow!

Become one with the rainbow!

Making play dough is a good metaphor for life. What looks like a sticky mess...

Making play dough is a good metaphor for life. What looks like a sticky mess…

...becomes this!

…becomes this!

Play dough requires MUCH salt. After going through 2.5 store bought containers, I resorted to the double secret Hawaiian rock salt

Play dough requires MUCH salt. After going through 2.5 store bought containers, I resorted to the double secret Hawaiian rock salt

25 pounds of homemade play dough and a

25 pounds of homemade play dough and a “perspective pig” salt shaker. Lunch is served!!

Today, I am volunteering again with the “Get Artsy with Multi Cultural Kids” program under the auspices of “Hands On Greater Portland” volunteer organization. They, Hands On, offer long term as well as one time volunteer opportunities. Last week, I waltzed in to the Get Artsy program for the first time. This week, I am leading the activity. With my background in Special Ed and All Things Children and Crafts (my title, not an official group), this is a perfect match. Hope everyone today has fun. I am excited!!!!

Hoof IN Mouth Disease

I had the good fortune today of volunteering to do crafts projects with the children of refugee families. Anyone who knows me, knows I am very outgoing and will chat it up with anyone. (Can you already smell the faux pas on the horizon?).

Amongst those of us who were volunteering was a class of adult English language learners. I have always dreamed of being a TESOL teacher because 1) my parents are non native English speakers 2) I have flubbed *mightily* in other languages and 3) I really like to encourage people.

So I took under my wing, so to speak, the gal who could barely speak more than 10 English words. All the other volunteers – some native speakers, a few that were not – spread out amongst the various tables. As we waited for the kids to arrive and for our crafts projects to begin, I really wanted to make a connection with the gal who was so clearly terrified.

Geez, where was all that French I had had in HS? I couldn’t fall back on ASL or gesturing. German didn’t work. “La vasche qui rit” was right out. So somewhere along the line, I wanted to let her know that I’m a first generation American, and I understand going between cultures and languages etc. “Mon mere et mon pere…English…gesture the number 2…language”. Deer in the headlight. Probably thinking, “Why are you flashing a peace sign at me and why is your mom of the masculine persuasion?”, which didn’t dawn on me till later.

Fast forward to the group gathered at our table –  terrified French volunteer gal; young boy whom I asked if he preferred to talk or liked quiet, since I was babbling away, stated that he liked quiet; a local native speaker volunteer who was trying all his slaughtered French phrases and trying to discuss theatre and playwrights with terrified French gal; chatty and sweet boy of local origins and THEN – a young boy, of African or Caribbean descent – who joined us. Whom I was told did not speak English. Whom I was told was visiting for the summer and didn’t live in the community like the rest of these kids.

I gestured to him and assisted him with his project. And then it dawned on me – wait – maybe he is from a location where they speak French. I already connected the volunteer at my table with the group leader of this whole shindig who just happened to be from Switzerland. They had a nice chat in French and I was quit happy to not understand a thing – or very little. So I said, “Français?” to the volunteer and the boy who spoke no English to see if they could connect. No good. It just didn’t work. Figured he was just shy.

BUT THEN, after about 10 minutes of trying to make connections amongst my fellow crafters – the little guy responded to some input. He had said things earlier but so quietly I didn’t catch it. WAIT – what? You speak English while I’m gesturing and getting French gal to chat it up with you? Consider me punked 🙂 His English was just fine.

Today’s volunteer gig was SO much fun, even if it did stretch all my resourcefulness on trying to communicate amongst various people of such diverse backgrounds. Once a terp mindset, always a terp mindset. And I don’t mind being silly or creative – and failing miserably in the process – in building bridges. In the end, creating a project together and wanting to spend time together requires no language other than a heart connection. And THAT we did. Viva La Fun!

 

 

 

Grateful (Pen Pal Project update)

First, I am grateful for laughing with friends. Thanks for making my day, Christine, with sparkly energy and lovely sincerity. Don’t you feel as if a new door has opened? 🙂 And thanks, Annie, for being awesome.

Wowee – when I started the Pen Pal Project, I was hoping for people who needed some cheering up and who might just scribble a note to me on a used pub napkin. It turns out that I have been cheered tremendously by what has come in so far and I have been blown away by the creativity and thoughtfulness. I don’t want this to sound like some competition though because it is definitely *not* that. (I’m still waiting for a scrawled on piece of a grocery bag – grins). I cherish everything that is sent this way.

If you want your contributions shown and names/blogs listed, I am happy to do that. Likewise, if you would like to correspond without any internet hoop-de-doo, I would like to honor that as well. Once we really get going, I can connect my Pen Pals with each other, if you’d like. Check the tab in the menu bar for an update on the countries of origin for correspondence. Be well, be blessed.

Nuvofelt asked that I post this "naked art". It is exquisite and had virtually no postal abuse. Everyone go check out Nuvofelt on wordpress!

Here is the “naked art” that made it from the UK to the US with nary a scratch. Exquisite paper. I want to learn how to create this. Feel free to identify yourself and your blog in the comments. THANK YOU!!!

 

A photo on cotton with stitching and 3D charms from Australia.

A photo on cotton with stitching and 3D charms from Australia. Wow! Feel free to identify yourself in the comments if you so wish. THANK YOU!!

 

Rainbow Goodness

Calling all artists – we know that we do what we do because we love it. I could crochet till the cows come home – and often, they are long tucked into their cozy beds and I am STILL crocheting. But what do we charge when we sell our goods? If I charged even $5 an hour on labor for the large blankets I’ve made for friends, the blankets would literally cost $1,000. Anyone want to comment – as an artist or as a consumer of homemade, handmade goods? What are your guidelines as someone who is selling or buying?

 

Tie dye, hippie placemat of love. ~20"X12.75"

Tie dye, hippie placemat of love. ~20″X12.75″