Monday, September 29, 2014

My Mantras Ingnored

It's that time of year again! Break out the ghosts & ghouls, pumpkins & prowlers, candy & costumes and the deranged decorations.

Every year I put out as little as I can in the way of decorations, no matter the holiday. Less is More and K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) are my mantras.

I try to refrain from purchasing (or making) any new decorations, no matter how cute or novel, year after year.

My Darling-Sister-In-Law made that a difficult endeavor this year. She had seen on the Internet that someone had made little dead fairies and mermaids. She sent me the pictures...I was intrigued.

We went to Hobby Lobby and looked for the items needed to make our little fairies and mermaids. We found a couple of the items, but what we needed most, the skeletons, had to be purchased elsewhere. Darling-Sister-In-Law bought the skeletons (thanks again).

Darling-Sister-In-Law's fairy and mermaid really looked dead. She painted them a brownish color and added some textures to make them look as if their flesh was rotting off their bones. Excellent job!

I wanted to make my fairy and mermaid look different. I too, glued the butterfly wings on one skeleton but did not paint them brown. I wanted to keep the colors of the monarch visible.

The skeleton mermaid was more of a challenge. I made her a tail of cardboard, paper and glue. Darling-Sister-In-Law gave me some twine for her hair and The Colonel had the idea of the shell bra.

Love the way she turned out. I just could not resist the skeletons for my Halloween decorating. These little skeletons are small enough to store away nicely and neatly.

I will have to see what Darling-Sister-In-Law finds next, and hopefully I will have the intestinal fortitude to just say no. I have to keep repeating my mantras....Less is More...K.I.S.S...Less is More...K.I.S.S...Less................

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Churn Butter and Walk Like an Egyptian, But Not at the Same Time

The Colonel, Darling-Sister-In-Law (DSIL) and I are docents for the county's historical center. We help bring history to life by dressing in costumes and becoming characters.

A week before school started locally, the historical center was conducting a four day "summer camp" series to be held in the area libraries. Each day we would be in a different library for a couple of hours.

The first and third days of camp were entitled "Little House on the River".  We docents (there were others besides The Colonel, DSIL and I) were telling and showing the kids (and some parents too) what life was like here for early Florida pioneers.

The Colonel and I have participated in this program before but this was DSIL's first time. She was going to show the "campers" how to make their own butter. She knew she would be playing the part of the dairy woman a few weeks prior to the camp. She needed a costume, so she asked her mother to make one for her. My-Favorite-Mother-In-Law whipped up a perfect, pioneer costume for DSIL.

(with the flag behind her, I thought DSIL looked like Betsy Ross churning butter)

DSIL poured some room temperature, heavy cream into the churner and began turning the handle. She wanted to make some butter before the campers showed up. She would need some to put on crackers for tasting.

Each camper would get to make their own butter too. DSIL poured some cream into small containers with lids for each camper to take and shake until they had butter. The kids loved making and then eating their own butter. We had one father who was so taken with the process, he was going to go home and make more butter.

DSIL also enjoyed making butter. She had made enough (remember that there were two days of pioneer camp) that she, The Colonel and I were using it for days. It was delicious! So light and creamy.
The Colonel was a farmer who told the campers about some of the crops that grew and still grow in Florida. He talked about citrus, sweet potatoes and sugar cane and gave out samples.

I was the chicken lady who talked about candling eggs. I had my chicken "Ruby", plastic eggs and a battery operated candle as my props. I also made a nesting box for Ruby and had a chart that showed the development of a chick inside an egg.

Docent Jackie was helping the kids make corn husk dolls and docent Jeannie read a chapter from "Little House on the Prairie" as the kids ate popcorn.

Days two and four of the camp were entitled, "Walk Like an Egyptian". We dressed like archaeologists as docent Jackie dressed as Cleopatra.

We had several Egyptian-themed activity areas for the kids to learn from and have fun with (parents and grandparents had fun too).

The Colonel talked to the campers about ancient Egyptians and handed each child a necklace of a green, bean-sized, scarab bead on a string. The kids loved them. The scarab beads really came from Egypt.

Docent Jeannie was teaching any child, brave enough to give it a try, how to make cordage. She took three strands of palm fronds, held them in her teeth and began to braid the strands. Most children found it too hard to do.

(love the pith helmet...want one too)

DSIL and I were helping the children to make their cartouches (on lunch bags). A cartouche is an oblong enclosure that contains hieroglyphics that spell out a name, usually that of a king or queen.

The night before, I had drawn an empty cartouche on 105 lunch bags and cut out hundreds of hieroglyphics.

I separated them into alphabetical order, then placed them in envelopes. I made my own cartouche for an example for the children (plus, I wanted to see what my name would look like in hieroglyphics).

The children enjoyed making their cartouche bags. We had a couple close calls when a name was too long for the bag...most opted to go with a shortened version (Christopher choose Chris...much to his grandmother's chagrin). After the kids made their cartouche bags we put some Gummy Mummy candy in their bags (the Gummy Mummy candy was delicious).

The children moved to the next activity center where docent Crystal was waiting for them. They made canopic jars out of modeling clay. A canopic jar is the vessel used during mummification that holds the viscera of the mummy. The lids to the jars were often made into the likeness of one of the Egyptian gods or goddesses. DSIL brought a real canopic jar and it had her spleen inside of it....well, a model of it can see it in first picture of this is to the right of the framed papyrus.

Cleopatra helped the kids to make an edible mummy snack at another table. They wrapped string cheese around a crispy bread stick. A yummy mummy.

Yes, we did walk like an Egyptian. Cleopatra lead a conga line of walkers. We walked, quietly, around the library like Egyptians.

The last activity of the camp was mummy wrapping. Kids were wrapped up toilet paper or they got to wrap their parents in toilet paper. Little Skylar (4 years-old) was an excellent mummy. She stood very still the entire time she was being encased in toilet tissue.

Everyone had a great time visiting ancient Egypt.

It is always a good time when we dress up and bring history to life.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014