Joy Dare :: Unframed Art

Unframed art is really prolific around here. There are stacks and stacks of the stuff everywhere you look. Messy art projects are not something I am naturally thankful for, but I’m trying to not let the chaos bother me,

But recently, all the children have been branching out extensively in their artistic endeavors.

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Sophie is the queen of all art forms. She’s not afraid to try her hand at anything, and is generally quite pleased with the results.

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Kinsley seems to show some aptitude in the sculpting department.

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Our charming penguin family was a gift from my creative mom. The kids love getting these guys out each Christmas season. They like to imagine all sorts of “clever” conversations taking place between the three gourds.

And the art behind them is by my awesome brother. I asked for an Ansel Adams style crayon art piece, and that is what he made me.

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Puzzles, another art form we are certainly thankful for.  Especially these two.

Joy Dare Blog<

In a year.

It’s been more than a year since I’ve blogged. Life has been full of really crazy up and downs and I’ve needed the downtime. But I’ve missed blogging! I have no idea if I’ll keep up with the ol’ blog or not, but for today, here goes.

IMG_2124The kids are still wild and woolly.

IMG_1182Seriously, there’s never a dull or quiet moment around here.

IMG_1134 copyAnd guess what? We’re adding to the chaos come March. We couldn’t possibly be more excited about this little expansion project.  I’m currently the main one doing the expanding.

IMG_1184 copyIn a year, Truxton has completely mastered reading, and more importantly in his book, collected hundreds of frogs. 

IMG_0593This summer we’ve discovered that Kinsley has Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, and we are learning to cope with that development. In other news, she finished The Lord of The Rings since last summer. Now, if we could only master some basic addition, I’d be thrilled.

IMG_1302 copySophie has polished up her reading skills, and blossomed into the general ring leader of all miscellaneous children. Her younger two siblings constantly look to her for inspiration and guidance. It’s scary I tell ya.

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Gillian is still basically her sweet, easy going self. Except when she’s not. Then boy, can she be rotten. I swear that we skip the terrible twos, but pay for it at age three. She’s begging to learn to read, because being the only non-reader in a family is just way too hard on a person’s psyche. And she’s getting it, actually. So by next year all the kids should be readers.

Wait, no. I forgot about Baby X. Who, by the way, purports to be a girl.

IMG_2260Yeah. You can pray for us.

Continue reading “In a year.”

Chalkboard Table

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For more than two years now, I have intended to do something with this coffee table, but never got around to it, until yesterday. It is a laminate surface, so I wasn’t sure if it would work to paint it, until I discovered chalk paint about a year ago. Boy, is that stuff wonderful!

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I used a DIY chalk/chalkboard paint recipe with sanded grout, and made it on the thick side, hoping to create a better writing surface.

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In between coats (I did two) I sanded it down to a satiny finish with 600 grit sandpaper. Normally I would wax my chalk paint, but as it turns out, if you don’t wax your surface, you magically end up with a chalkBOARD!

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The chalk goes on like butter (whatever that means) and it erases beautifully, and up to the point where I was uploading these pictures, I thought the whole thing was just pure genius. But as the kids continued to (very exuberantly) use the chalkboard table, I began to notice slight scratches in the paint. So apparently it isn’t working so well with the laminated surface. If I had to guess, I am thinking I shouldn’t have put it on so thick.

I have a (non laminated) train table to paint in the next few weeks, so I will see how the chalkboard surface works on that. Meanwhile, I just need to come up with a magic cure for the peeling paint on this baby.

Nature Study – The Oppossum

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Nature study is an area that consistently suffers in our schooling, even though I was determined not to let it slide.

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So when the Xplor magazine showed up and peaked Kinsley’s interest in opossums, I decided to roll with it, mostly to assuage the guilty feeling of failure.

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The Handbook of Nature Study didn’t have anything on the opossum (Did I miss it? Are they not blessed with these chicken eatin’ varmints across the pond??) so we turned to youtube. Where we basically got distracted by cute possum videos for 45 minutes. I suffer from shiny object syndrome.

(I actually kind of feel like that mama possum sometimes.)

We learned that baby opossums are about the size of a kidney bean when they are born and that an entire litter can fit in a teaspoon. The gestation period is only 13 days, and they nurse without stopping for two solid months. They are the only marsupials in the US. Fascinating!

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Then we sketched us some ‘possum (this is acceptable grammar when discussing a possum, I believe).

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Then Kinsley read to us from The Adventures of Unc’ Billy Possum.

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She is quite the expressive reader!

I am motivated to do better at nature study again. For now.

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We were peacefully doing our artist study this afternoon. At least as peacefully as we ever do anything around here. The artist for this term is Jacob van Ruisdael, and today the girls were imitating his style using the painting Two Watermills and an Open Sluice at Singraven (in case you want to know 😉 ).

I had settled the two youngest with children’s watercolors and was using the time to organize our nature study for the week, and enjoy a cup of coffee.

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I really wasn’t paying attention to Gillian, who was keeping herself quite busy.

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It was a moment of weakness for which I paid dearly.

Joy Dare :: A Gift Hung, Held, Heard

A Gift Hung

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My black and white crayon art was a birthday gift from my super talented brother Jacob. I asked if he could pull of an Ansel Adams feel, and he sure did! It’s one of my most favorite pieces of art.

A Gift Held

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I had to include Gillian here, since she makes certain that she is the main thing I find myself holding. That’s okay though, she’s pretty cute!

A Gift Heard

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When we snagged our bird-songs clock from a neighbors yard sale, I was thrilled that both the kids and I could learn some of the bird calls in such an easy way. Unfortunately, I neglected to make sure that it was accurate, and after several months of me calling the name of each bird at the top of the hour, Dan pointed out that the clock must be set wrong, and I realized that we had learned all the wrong songs to all the wrong birds. Oh well. We’ll get around to bird songs someday.