It's beyond "feisty," really; a more scientific diagnosis would be "stick-induced mania." Down by the little river behind the house, Franklin likes to select a stick from the mucky whorl and then drag it onto the sandy bank. Then he plays with it, dragging or carrying it from spot to spot, then dropping it and pawing frantically at it, with occasional breaks to chew off small pieces. During all of this he makes growly and whiny sounds, like he's both excited and kind of anxious about whatever it is he's doing.
In short, Franklin is a mystery.
No, this post isn't about getting a job in an antique store, or opening a buggy whip factory. It's about Careers, the excellent Parker Brothers game. I have one from 1955 that I used to play all the time with my sister when we were kids. Our copy is, uh, "well-loved." The box is in bad shape.
The board is more intact but it's faded and stained. Still playable, says I!
The game play is pretty clever. Before you start playing, you must decide what 'success' means to you. Divide 60 points among three categories: Money (each point is $1,000), Fame (represented by stars), and Love (hearts). I can't remember exactly, but I think I usually put $40k, 10 Fame, and 10 Love. (I would go for the Uranium Prospecting career to get the big bucks; more on that later.) You write your goal under the flap of your wax reusable score pad.
Then you travel around the board in a traditional board-game way, rolling dice and collecting resources (or losing them) along the way. If you get an opportunity card, you can use it to enter a career without having to land exactly on the starting square for that career. Once you pick a career, and you meet the resource requirements, you get to go along an inner path that's specific to your chosen job. This is 1955, less than a decade before actual manned space flight, so Expedition to the Moon is one of them.
I like that you can earn Love just by appreciating the beauty around you. Very poetic.
Also 1955-ish are the little touches of sexism. Apparently, moon rockets have stewardesses, wives are always spending your money, and a "mink" (code for a floozie, I assume, though maybe it's meant to imply a bribe? Unclear) can derail your political career.
The 80's child that I was often chose Uranium Prospecting because it was both lucrative and had a twinge of danger. Nuclear war was the big boogeyman of the time, and I knew uranium was terribly radioactive, so the idea of having it in a children's game was darkly funny to me.
There's so much to love about this game, including the beautiful retro font for the money, and the design for the cards.
Keep an eye out at tag sales and flea markets for Careers. There are updated versions out there but they aren't nearly as charming, and tell you no information about what people of "the past" valued.
p.s. I just noticed that one of us shaded in a guy on the instruction sheet, possibly to add a token amount of diversity to the game...
As described by an admin at a local college's art department, "Mail art is simply art that has been sent through the mail, but generally is made knowing that the piece will journey via the post. Painting, drawing, collage, photography, and writing can all easily be mail art. Stamps, how the piece is addressed, and the marks made by the post office all add to the final art that arrives at its destination." I'm mailing this postcard to that college in order to be part of a big Mail Art show. I hope it makes it there in good shape, but if it doesn't, that's part of the randomness of the process.
You'll notice that I've used both paper and plastic windows from my security envelope stash to make this. The fish is from an old guide to salt-water fish of Florida. The backing is a painted piece of cereal box cardboard.
You don't need an art show for a reason to send out mail art; you just need a willing partner who lives at a different address. (Or, I suppose you could mail something to your child, and your child to you, if you drop off the art at a mailbox... just make and mail it secretly, so your recipient will be surprised.) Now that almost all correspondence is done online, it is truly a thrill to get something nice (not a bill, not junk) in the mail. Pick a cousin or an aunt or a camp friend, and say you'll send them art if they'll send you some back. It's a visuals-based version of a pen pal. An art pal! I know I find it easier to draw or paint something than write a small-talky letter.
Mother's Day is coming up soon, and May Day even sooner, so I was trying to think of a new and exciting flower-based project. As I was looking around the studio, considering different materials to try, it suddenly occurred to me: Why not use all of them? Well, not exactly all, but a bunch.
I present to you the flower sampler card! I call it a card even though it's a full-sized, unfolded 8.5 by 11-inch piece of construction paper. Leave off the message for an any-day art piece.
Here's how you make one, or how you trick your child into making one for you, or how to explain to your child how to make one for Grandma. First, get a piece of paper. Then, look through your art and crafting supplies and recycling box, and gather up any and all stuffs that could potentially be turned into flower shapes and glued onto paper. Cut and/or shape any pieces that need cutting and shaping, then glue them down. Try for a wide variety of materials, both 2D and 3D, smooth, textured, or furry...
From left to right (roughly) I used:
Birch bark cut into petal shapes with regular scissors
Fabric tape that I got on clearance at JoAnn's
A small piece of faux fur
Half a purple pipe cleaner
A security envelope
UPC code from a cereal box
Sections from red rickrack
At this point you can call it a day, and just have a nice scattering of abstract blooms. I wanted to put my flowers in a vase, so I added some stems. It would have been smarter to have put stems on the top/back flowers before gluing down the bottom/front flowers, but I was going with the flow, and the flow is not great with project management.
I trimmed off the excess stem lengths, and then added a few small leaves. I cut out a simple vase-top shape — a simple rectangle would do just as well — and glued that over the bottom of the stems.
See how I left some space at the top? It's a good idea to think about leaving a place to write a message, if you're making a card.
Omm Design collaborates with multiple European artists and designers to create sweet and colorful toys, artwork, and housewares. I like every piece of it. Everything shown here is available to purchase online at the Fawn Shoppe; just click on an image to go there. (Note: Omm Design has a ton of products that don't seem to be available via U.S.-based retailers, so if you just want to window-shop, go to Omm's home page and browse around!)
This last one's a memory game. So groovy!
Franklin loves his rawhide bones SO MUCH you guys. He will sometimes just hang out with one stuck in his mouth like an unlit cigar.
Yes, that is my house in its authentically cluttered state.
As promised, I developed a less-earthy/crunchy version of the winter garden bird I posted not long ago.
I made this bird all white because it seemed like an appropriate symbol for Earth Day, which is tomorrow. Of course, you and your kids can experiment with all sorts of colors, textures, and patterns. Try weird and wild feather shapes, too.
To start, use the template (below) to cut the three pieces from corrugated cardboard, being careful to align the corrugations with the arrows on the template. Paint the pieces, then glue them together.
Now it's feather-making time! Cut out some feathers of various sizes from paper (I used construction paper). Fold each feather in half, short-ways, and then unfold it. You just want to crease it and give it some backbone. Cut a pipe cleaner into quarters or thirds, and attach it to the base of the feather with a piece of white or clear tape, allowing two or three inches to extend from the feather's base.
For the tail, draw and cut out a wide paddle-ish shape, and a smaller inset shape, from your paper. Use tacky glue to sandwich two pipe cleaner sections between the two pieces, centering them and leaving a few inches protruding, as shown.
Create a bunch of feathers of varying sizes. I made 12 in all.
Now, to attach them to the cardboard base. For each feather, fold over the end of the pipe cleaner and insert it into a channel in a wing base. You will need to trim some of the pipe cleaners so they don't extend out of the other end of the base. Cover the folded-over end with glue, and slide it into place.
Repeat with the rest of the feathers. You may find you don't need to glue some of the feathers that are further back in the base. Nice.
For the tail, insert the two pipe cleaners into the end of the bird base, then gently twist the tail 90 degrees.
You're cleared to fly! I recommend clipping the back with a clothespin, and tying string or thread to the clip. It's not the most beautiful choice, but it is infinitely easier and more adjustable than anything I've tried. And this is supposed to be fun, you know?
Peace to you and yours! Happy Earth Day!
Have you met Claudia Vivero? She's an Argentine currently living in Israel, and she plays with color, shapes, and texture. The following paintings are available for sale; click on them to see larger images and shop information.
The different pieces of these two paper collages are held together with grommets!
I am in love with her carefully-considered color palettes and organic, abstract shapes.
More recently, she's been experimenting with overlapping fabric shapes and collaging them with a sewing machine.
Her work could easily serve as a launching point for a children's creative project. Create painted papers, cut them into large, abstract shapes, and collage them together. Or, do the same, but use fabric scraps, and glue them to a stiff backing (mat board or foam core, or corrugated cardboard, if you don't mind the ribbed texture). Fun!
Check out Vivero's home site to read more about Claudia and see much more of her work.
Happy creating! xo
I like how "sculpture" is in quotes, like they aren't exactly sure if this project rises to the "sculpture" moniker. (Of course it does!) This is from McCall's Annual of Creative Handcrafts, published in 1969.
The text above says (and this is sic):
weird creatures and sculpture forms—fun craft for children. Cardboard tubes, cereal boxes are cut into rings, then glued to make animal shapes or free forms for modern "sculptures." From James Perrin. Directions for Paper Ring Fun, page 96.
(Page 96 only has a short paragraph that tells you what you already know: Cut cardboard rings, paint them, and glue them together. Add googly eyes as required.)
xo to you, my ring-a-dings.
Note: this isn't a project, just a sharing.
My partner is selling his old house in the country. On the property is a steep hillside that leads, eventually, down to a stream. It looks like a section of the hill was treated as a dump for many years. Or, if not a dump, let's call it an alternative to recycling, because the only stuff you'll find is made of glass, with the occasional rust-covered tin or metal object mixed in. The bottles and jars aren't particularly old — they might date from the 1940s-60s. There are half-empty jars of Vick's Vap-o-rub (the name helpfully imprinted on the bottom), Noxema, and a tiny bottle of Listerine. And there are lots of jars that once held jam or sauerkraut or applesauce.
I was there a couple of days ago, looking for anything still intact and interesting. Here's what I took home with me, in their fresh, pre-washed state:
The one broken bottle in the front was saved only because it was made in Northampton, Massachusetts, my old town. I might put all of these in a bottle tree kind of contraption.
Among the loosely strewn, mostly-empty containers were a few that had invited some local flora inside. They are the most authentic, artisanal terraria you could ever hope to find, being formed, as they are, completely without human intervention. What could be more natural?
I only took one of these home, though I was strongly tempted to take all of them and sell them to wealthy hipsters as the world's most real, authentic terraria on Earth. This one has its own lid, and might not require being half-buried in a hillside in order to continue to live. We'll see.
I'm Debbie Way, an artist and writer who enjoys making things.