Monday, April 25, 2011

Silk Tie Dyed Easter Eggs

It's Easter Monday for us, and we're finally getting around to dying our eggs. This year we tried silk tie dying blown eggs. Some of the ties and scarves we used must not have actually been silk because the colours didn't take -- but several worked quite well:

Do you have any favourite ways of decorating eggs -- a symbol of new life in this season of resurrection celebration?

Monday Musings on the Creator in Me

Drama is the theme this week at HSB -- in honour of Shakespeare's birthday (April 23). My initial response to the topic was, "I have enough drama in my life, thank you!" But I guess that's not the kind of drama we're discussing, is it?!?!? ;)

Being Easter weekend and all, my mind then went to the world famous Oberammergau Passion Play, a community drama depicting the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus performed every ten years to honour a pledge made in 1633 in response to the Bubonic Plague. To think that a whole village has united, with over 2000 community members participating in the dramatic presentations, every ten years for hundreds of years, is mind-boggling. What a wonderful experience it would be to witness such a presentation -- and what an honour it would be to participate!

There is something to be said for the power of drama. Who of us has not been moved by a dramatic presentation -- be it a movie, a commercial, a play, or a short skit? When I attended the recent Revolve Tour with DD13, I was moved to tears on more than one occasion as the talented team presented vignettes that addressed real-life issues that teens face today. Drama has the capacity to touch our hearts in ways that mere words or images cannot, and the impact can be enduring. (Alas -- it can work to the negative, too, so we must exercise caution.)

But participating in meaningful dramas can be life-changing. Not only does it develop important communication skills and boost personal confidence -- it can enable us to relate to people and characters in ways that profoundly impact the way we think and view the world. For example, my husband said his role as the crucified Christ in an Easter play at our church  gave him incredibly new insight into the sacrifice that Jesus made for us, as well as the thoughts and feelings that those closest to Him must have experienced. That translated into a deeper appreciation of Jesus's gift of salvation. What a blessing! That experience gave him new insights into the power of drama, and when he later had the opportunity (as director) to cast someone else in the role of Jesus, he was compelled to offer the role to an individual who had strayed in his relationship with Christ, but really wanted to play the part. Because of his own experience, my husband knew that the young man was bound to encounter God in a mighty way by assuming the role of Jesus.

So what are some ways that we and our children can participate in meaningful dramatic experiences? Let's brainstorm some, shall we?
  • Instead of just reading stories or books (including the bible and history texts), we can engage in re-enacting the stories, striving to relate in meaningful ways to the historical people and literary characters.
  • We can respond to literature with dramatic presentations. Instead of talking or writing our responses to something we've read, we can perform a dramatic monologue of what one of the characters might have thought or said in a context outside of the original author's story. This enables us to integrate what we've learned from the story and apply it in a different context.
  • Acting out character-building issues can be a powerful tool for instruction. Children asked to role-play a scene in which one person is treated unkindly, for example, can help them relate in a personal way, which can then positively affect their behaviour in real life. Adults, too, can learn meaningful things by role-playing situations -- say in a marriage relationship context, or even in the workplace.
  • We can become involved in community theatre groups. Many regions have local drama troups for both children and adults. They may not be as impressive as the Oberammergau dramatic productions, but they can still be valuable experiences. Even the most rural communities often have fabulous theatre opportunities.
  • We can become involved in church drama ministries -- ministries that can span the gamut of ages from young children to seniors. Not only does this provide opportunities for individuals to gain insights, confidence, and skills through participation in drama, it also provides fabulous opportunities for inter-generational connections within the church family.
  • We can participate in things like Vacation Bible School, in which dramatic presentations are a key tool in conveying the gospel message to children who may never have heard it.
  • We can participate in historical re-enactments at local museums and heritage settings (such as pioneer villages).
While even the shyest person can come to life on "stage" (ask me how I know!) and develop wonderful communication skills and confidence, acting is not the only way to participate in a formal drama. Casting, directing, set design, stage management, lighting, costume design, understudies and prompting are all "behind the scenes" ways that people who have no interest in memorizing and delivering lines can fully engage in a formal dramatic production. Do not underestimate the power of being immersed in a drama in any capacity!


What power has drama had in your life? Can you think of other ways for children and adults to become involved in drama for a rich, personal experience? Is the Creator in you calling you to creatively engage in some sort of drama?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Anticipation . . .

Looking forward to a special Good Friday Blessing Meal, while exploring some symbols of Passover . . .

More Easter Art 2011

We did another art lesson from See the Light's The Crossmaker DVD -- this time using chalk pastels. It turned out to be too advanced for DS4 -- who ended up just scribbling on his picture and poking holes in the paper, even though his original drawing was quite good. It was actually quite challenging for all of us -- but DD9, DS12, and I stuck it out and were ultimately pleased with our results:

None of us has ever used chalk pastels before. It was a bit messy, but fun! :)

Have you tried a new art medium lately? Have you tried anything new lately? What are you waiting for???

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Art 2011

It's customary for us to do some special art projects around Easter time, so when I recently won a cool Easter art DVD from my friend Shannon's blog, Mom Loves Books, I was very excited!

I am under NO obligation to review it -- I just thought I'd share with you my impressions of it and some of our creative work that has stemmed from watching it. We started with the illustrated story of Easter -- prepared to try one of the art lessons after:

The lesson was very well delivered by artist Jim Pence. I especially liked the fact that the split screen enabled us to see both the "big picture" of what the instructor was doing, but also a close-up of what he was demonstrating:

I also liked the fact that while the artist was showing us how to do something, he also kept emphasizing that it was our own piece of art that we were doing, and we could do it the way we wanted -- fun being the key point.

While the DVD specified that the art lessons were for children 6+, my DS4 thoroughly enjoyed participating, and did a fine job of following the instructions.

Here is DS12's finished product (minus the fluorescent crayon work -- because we don't have said crayons -- nor a black light to show them up):

DS4's work:

DD9's (she didn't want to pose with hers ;):

And mine:

Ya -- they all look pretty much the same, but the children learned that drawing/colouring with permanent markers enables you to add other media (including wet ones) on top without destroying the picture -- and we all learned some strategies about how to use water colours effectively.

What tickled me at the end was that DS4 noticed the paint around where he'd been working and declared even that pretty! I love that he sees beauty even in unintentional laying down of colour!

Right now, we're off to try another lesson from the DVD -- one using chalk pastels. It's a medium I've never tried -- so it should be a fun learning experience :)

Have you tried any new creative activities lately?

What are you doing to keep the cross -- and the victory that came afterwards -- the focus of this Easter season?

Morning Glories

Now that it feels like spring has actually arrived, we're getting back into our routine of "Morning Glories" walks. The children were squirrelly yesterday morning, so we headed to the park with the dog and got some p.e. into our day when DD9 found a ball to throw for Caspian. For the first time ever, he actually co-operated and didn't play keep-away once he'd captured the ball! So we had a grand game of fetch:

I also took the opportunity to try to catch some interesting shots of the lovely pussy willows that are in bloom:

What are some of your "Morning Glories"?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Monday Musings on the Creator in Me

Creative Ways to be Wise Stewards

The theme at HSB this week is recycling and stewardship of God's creation. I've gotta say -- that's become a favourite challenge of mine these last few years ;) It only makes sense that we would try to make good use of the resources we have, and avoid waste. I'm sure you all have lots of great ideas for re-using and re-purposing things -- and I'd love to hear about them in the comments below.

What I thought I would do today is highlight some of the ways our family has found to recycle or find a new purpose for things that otherwise might have been discarded -- in hopes that it might spark your own creativity to find ways to be wise stewards of what we have been given. The links will take you to the spots on my blog where I've gone into greater detail about these fun little recycling projects. At the end of the post, you'll find some links to a few other blogs with lots of great ideas!

Turn "garbage" into something useful or lovely.

Burlap rice bags can be turned into nifty totes or lunch bags:

The vinyl from a broken and irreparable chair can also be used for a tote bag (just don't try ironing it!!!!):

Junk mail flyers can become special occasion cards:

Toilet tissue tubes can become nifty note holders:

Game pieces -- such as a broken set of dominoes -- can be turned into necklaces, pins, and decorative tiles:

Old encyclopedias and books that no one will likely ever read again can become works of art or journals and even lamps:

Ceiling medallions can be centerpieces, and ugly candlesticks can be given new life with a bit of paint:

Old art work makes wonderful wrapping paper and elements for new art:

Re-Purpose items to make them serve a different function in a unique way.

Old books -- and even old eye glasses -- can become part of your decor:

Yikes! I missed the cobweb in real life! Do you see it?!?!?

 A bed can become a bench -- which can then become a dusty, cluttered book shelf! (Just bein' real here!)

Hooks added to a table brace make an interesting coat rack:

And more of the same table can become a base for a cupboard unit (still need to make a curtain for concealing the extra storage area):

Paned window frames make lovely picture frames:

And they can be a funky addition to outdoor decor (My cousin suggested painting it red -- and I love that idea!):

Other sources of ideas:

Some of my favourite websites for re-purposing and creative frugality include:
Funky Junk Interiors
Censational Girl
Nesting Place
Little Birdie Secrets

Interestingly enough, I also came upon another of Amanda Soule's books at the library the other day and it was appropriately titled, Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures.

So -- what are some of your ideas? Please share! You can put a link in the comments if you wish :)

 **** NB: All items with an internal link to another detailed post are my projects. The bench, hooks, unit stand, and window picture frame are those of my talented husband :) This post is linked at:

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