Saturday, January 24, 2015

Pirates and Pixies

No small bones about it, I'm foisting my interests all up on my Kid. It started innocently enough: NBC was showing Peter Pan Live (and I wrote all about it). Then, he got into Jake and the Neverland Pirates. Then, as part of our prep-watching for our upcoming vacation to Disney World, we watched Disney's Peter Pan for one of our movie nights. It was all over from there...

And I love it.

So, when he asked me to make him fairy wings so he could play Tinker Bell, I couldn't say no. We took a trip to Michael's to pick out some flowers and paint, and I finally forgave Jake for having wire hangers in his closet. (He's getting better, but there are still a couple. I struggle not to go all Joan Crawford on him, but it's what keeps our marriage interesting.) I used this tutorial, which was pretty darned clear. My one note: even though I used Q-sized stockings, they compressed my hanger-shapes, so they wound up thinner than my original design. It's cool; he loves them, and so do I!

The Kid had asked me for "black and white stripes with orange squiggles and flowers," and I think I delivered. It's definitely the most Tim Burton-y, Halloween-y thing I've ever made! He's been flying around the apartment for the last couple of days, and I get to be his Peter Pan. Not complaining!
So, then.

I realized if I could make fairy wings, I could probably make a pair of swords for swordfighting, too. The Kid has been initiating swordfights with everything from chopsticks to plastic cucumbers to rubber snakes. Jake and I hadn't had The Play Weapon Talk yet--it had never come up. But both of us figured, if The Kid uses safe foam swords to play pirate, how could we argue?

Especially because I'm a craft-nerd who already had all of the materials, and didn't have to buy anything...

Tutorial after the jump.

Friday, January 2, 2015

A Very Crafty Holiday: an overview

I'm a big fan of TV. Like, huge. (Picture me saying that as Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman.) Before The Kid came along--and when he's not home--I have the TV on non-stop. It's my background noise when I'm doing whatever it is that I'm occupied with; there are only a handful of shows I actually sit and watch.

I do try to stem my couch potato impulses when I'm hanging out with The Kid, and not have the both of us posted in front of the TV all the time. To be honest, he probably watches a total of two hours a day...don't judge. :P

Not defaulting to turning on the TV was much easier when I worked outside of the house. Spending a full day with The Kid was an event, and it was treated as such. When you only get two full days a week together, why would you spend it watching TV? But now, I have to make a concerted effort to come up with fun and nourishing activities. And it turns out, I love doing crafts with my kid! (I probably could have told you that before, but now it's confirmed.) "Becoming more comfortable with arts and crafts" was on my resolution list a few years ago, when I realized that to effectively teach Creative Drama to young kids, I was going to have to give them art projects. I think I've been pretty successful on that end!

Here's a roundup of some of the crafts The Kid and I have done together for the holidays...
Glued circles and rectangles to a piece of blue paper to make snowmen!
(I can't believe it hasn't really snowed in A2 yet! Did I just jinx us??)
Made and decorated gingerbread cookies!
(Cookie recipe from Cook's Illustrated; amazing sugar frosting recipe from The Kitchn.)
The old preschool stand-by: dreidel suncatchers!
(Basis for this activity from The Artful Parent; I used watered-down glue instead of liquid starch,
because my grocery store didn't stock the starch. I also put the wax paper inside a dreidel cut-out.
Because Hanukkah.)
I went into The Kid's class to teach them about Hanukkah. Guess what I did with them!
We made peppermint marshmallows! They. Were. Excellent. And somehow, we still have some.
(Recipe from A Beautiful Mess.)
We made some ornaments for our tree. Meet Santa and Jewish Guy!
(Basis for this activity from Red Ted Art. I looped some embroidery floss through Santa's cap to make an ornament.
Jewish Guy used pretty much the same technique, using blue paint for his body, and a small felt circle yarmulke.)
And we made a handprint snowman ornament using a kit made by a parent in the 4s class at The Kid's school!
Whew! It's been an artful month! I think doing art with The Kid is so much fun. It allowed us to explore both of the winter holidays we celebrate in our family in a tactile way. Springtime crafts soon?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! (Or: It's 2015, Where's My Hoverboard?)

I don't normally do the resolution thing. I tend to do most of my reflection around Rosh Hashanah, and this year was no different. But since 2014 has been so full of changes and transitions, I thought this was as good a chance as any to sit back and put my thoughts down in words. So, at risk of being super-boring and doing the same thing as every other blogger, here are some reflections and (I guess) resolutions.

House and Home

In 2014, I made a huge transition from being a full-time working-person to being a Stay-at-Home Mom. (Which, yes, is also a full-time job. Just a very different kind of one.) I went from cooking maybe once a week to making dinner--and lunch--five times a week. There was a very steep learning curve, and I think I've been doing a pretty good job of adjusting.

In 2015, I'd like to:
  • focus on being more mindful during my time at home, and not default to checking my phone every five seconds. 
  • figure out a daily small-cleaning schedule, so I'm not rushing to clean when we have people coming over. (Though, my parents visiting once a month is a great cleaning deadline every four weeks or so!)
  • focus further on pantry-cooking. I've been doing a good job of weekly-menu-planning every week, but I could do more with what we have in our pantry, and make sure we're well-stocked in there.
  • learn more about cooking and become less reliant on recipes!


In 2014, I left Imagination Stage--leaving both a desk job and secure teaching job behind--and made connections in Ann Arbor, teaching one class a week with Wild Swan Theater. I continued working with The Inkwell in a marketing capacity from afar, because I love the future. (But where's my hoverboard, McFly??)

In 2015, I'd like to:
  • continue to make connections in the theatre community here in A2, building more classes into my schedule.
  • take time to write every day, whether blogging or playwriting.
  • on that note, move forward with editing my plays and work on getting them out to other people.
  • make a concerted effort for "office hours" while The Kid is in school, particularly Inky hours.


In 2014, I started working out for, like, the first time! I have a trainer and go to spin classes. That's going pretty well. I've also been tracking what I eat, both for calories and nutrition. That's going pretty well, too! But here's what I'd like to work toward for mind-health in 2015:
  • Read. Books. I've become way too reliant on my phone, and much of my bedtime reading takes place on a small iScreen. I'm going to replace that with reading actual books. (Yes, I'm a nerd who let book reading lapse!) At first, I'm aiming to read one book a month, since I don't have a lot of time for reading. By the end of the year, I'd like to read two books a month at least. I have a stack I'm really excited about, and first up: The Family Fang.

Ok, I think that's enough introspection for one day! I think that all of these goals are attainable over the next 12 months, and I have some self-assistance lined up for some of them (like NaBloPoMo, which will help with the write-every-day thing). Here's to a wonderful year!