Friday, September 23, 2011

Puffy Paint

I can't believe I've never tried this project before. It was so easy and fun that I ended up doing it three times this week... first with my own kids, then as a project at my son's school, and then with our music class. I have a little bit of PTSD after working with lots and lots of squirrelly little 4 and 5 year olds. In particular my own kids, who tend to just dump out all the paint, smear it all over their bodies, and then run away screaming. They can engage with art projects sometimes, but it's a delicate trick... figuring out what will draw them in. This project was perfect because the bottles are just so irresistible to squeeze that no one could deny their hypnotic powers. And the finished products all ended up looking really cool... not that that is necessarily necessary.... I especially liked how it looked on the black background.

Puffy Paint

1 c. salt
1 c. flour
1 c. water
a healthy squirt of food coloring or tempera paint.

Put in squeeze bottles for Puffy Paint Paradise.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Tinkering for grown-ups

I was invited to do this team-building activity for a group from Whole Foods this week.This was so much fun... We made drawbots and desktop succulent gardens out of sardine cans (my kids have been insane for sardines lately... seriously they're almost on par with candy to use as a lure to get them to do my bidding). I really think the tinkering is a great way to break adults out of their shells. My heart was SO greatly warmed seeing these sweet folks get so excited... laughing, shrieking, problem-solving... it was totally adorable.

I have been doing a lot of work on Austin Tinkering School lately... just trying to get it all ship-shape so that it can hopefully be a real actual livelihood that can perchance support my whole family in the manner to which they've become accustomed. My husband recently quit his job to work with me full time on ATS(Unbelievable! Amazing! Terrifying! Exciting! Wild and wonderful! ) so this is not very hypothetical and these musings are quite pertinent to our life. Matt quit his job mid-summer and did all the tinkering camps with me, which was perfectly amazing, and that's the kind of completely exciting and satisfying and hands-on work that we love. Since then there's actually been about a 6 week period with hardly any classes (they all start next week) and we've just been thinking website, registration forms, 'pay now' buttons (ooh! fancy!), tax ID numbers, all this stuff I could never get to on my own and is simply amazing to be getting to now, with Matt's help. However I have found myself to be getting bogged down, and I've been thinking that I needed to refresh and revive myself and remind myself of what I am after here, like WHY does Austin Tinkering School need to come to life. Yes, it's a money-making venture, and that's important, but I don't think that should really be the taproot of the whole thing. If money is simply all I need it would surely be faster and easier to just get a job at Starbucks. Anyway, this is all a very garbledy and roundabout way of saying that I think the purpose of it all is just to bring that excitement of creation and making to people's lives. I can't say we always achieve it but there were lots of great moments during the camps this summer where kids were just completely lit up from within. And to see these adults completely giddy... that makes me feel like we are providing a valuable service. Now to see if we can keep sending out sparks while keeping our family out of the poorhouse... I do believe we can... think good thoughts for us all!