Thursday, August 25, 2011

Art Tuesday: Painting Cookies

You knew it was coming, right? Inevitable. Of course, somehow, someday, there would be baking on Art Tuesday. At first I thought of decorating cookies. King Arthur Flour sells some cool-looking food grade markers I wanted to try. Or, if not, just frosting and sprinkles - who doesn't love that? But then I poked around the internet a bit and found this idea.

You make "paint" out of egg yolks and food coloring, and brush it on raw sugar cookie dough cut-outs, then bake. And you end up with a shiny, slightly crackled, remarkably vibrant painted cookie. Perfect!Painting Cookies
What you need:
  • Sugar cookie dough (I use this recipe)
  • Egg yolks (2 for each color you want to make)
  • Food coloring
  • New clean paintbrushes
  • Water
  • Cookie sheets lined with silpat or parchment
What to do:
1. Prepare: Make sure you use NEW paintbrushes and wash them really well with soap and boiling water. Also make your sugar cookie dough ahead of time (allow for chill time.) Roll out and cut into desired shapes. Stack with waxed paper between them and refrigerate until ready to use. They're much easier to paint when they're cold and stiff.

2. Make the paint: Stir 2 egg yolks with 2 tsp water. Add a few drops of food coloring and stir until you get the color you want. So pretty!3. Paint: Set up each kid with a work station - a plate, brush, bowl of water for rinsing, and a dough shape. Don't forget to preheat your oven for the baking! Now paint, paint, paint and put them on the cookie sheets as they are finished. Bake them when a sheet is full. Of course, as fun as painting cookies is, we could not resist the call of the sprinkles. So I baked some of the cookies plain and dipped them in a white glaze (from this recipe) - sprinkles, sprinkles, sprinkles!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


About 20 minutes ago I was standing out on our back deck with Poppy and Ginger, filling the plastic pool from the hose. Both neighbors have been having work done in and out of their houses so when a loud vibration started I thought nothing of it. But when the entire deck, shed and house behind me shook violently, my heart stopped and my mind raced. Drilling? Massive vehicle? Surely earthquake?

In a few seconds it was over and I brought the girls inside, too freaked out to think clearly. In a hurricane, get to a bathroom. In an earthquake...? In or outside? My elderly neighbors came over to see if we were OK and to make sure they weren't going crazy. Things had fallen off their shelves. Pictures had swung on their nails. My friend texted to see if we felt it. I went online to get some news. 5.8 or 5.9 apparently, and felt from NC to MA. Centered near or around Richmond, maybe?

I just talked to the UPS guy and asked if he's seen any damage. He said no, mostly car alarms. He was walking on a driveway and didn't even feel it. Said his fiance in Fredericksburg (halfway to Richmond) had to evacuate the building where she works for stuff falling. I am anxious to get Hazel home from school and gather my chicks under my wings.

Needless to say, we are...shaken.

UPDATE: From the Post. Gotta say, the suggestion this was a foreshock is not comforting.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Art Tuesday: Fill the Canvas

We had to skip or reschedule a couple Art Tuesdays because of travel and illness - the ups and downs of summer! - but we are back on track for at least a few more weeks.

This week the project was simple, yet one none of the kids had done before. They each received an 11x14 canvas ($2.99 for a 3-pack at Michael's!), and chose a paint brush.
With a paper plate for a palette, they chose four colors from the array of glitter paint offered. A glass of water for rinsing, and a paper towel for dabbing, and they were off to the races.

The objective? Fill the canvas. That's it. Which is harder for some artists than others, depending on style and paintbrush size. But a worthy goal for all.Poppy kept busy running around chasing a tennis ball, yelling, eating Goldfish, etc. The usual.
Fill the Canvas
What you need:
  • paint brushes (thicker than thin)
  • paint (tempera, glitter, acrylic, whatever - maybe not watercolor for this)
  • a canvas for each kid
  • rinsing water
  • paper plate palettes
  • paper towels

What to do:
Give each kid a canvas, paintbrush, water cup, paper towel and choice of paints on the palette. Tell them to fill the canvas, even to the very edges. Hint: Dry by placing them on overturned bowls so they are easier to lift without touching the edges.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

First Day, First Grade

It's pretty anticlimactic to go back to school a scant 5 1/2 weeks after you got out. It was hot then and it's still hot now. But it pays back later when we have off-peak breaks in nice weather. we did our best to pack the summer full of fun, but it was also dappled with disappointments - cancelled swim lessons for rain, cancelled playdates for sickness, etc. Regular life stuff, which unfortunately my girls take pretty hard.

But we checked off over half of the stuff on my lengthy "Summer Fun" lists, so that's pretty good. The rest I'll just have to do with two girls because Hazel is back to school! And now she is a "grader", as the kindergarteners call the older kids. And Ed and I are taking that term to the bank. "Graders can shower without help. Graders can make their own lunch. Graders help more around the house." Et cetera.
This morning we sent her off in style - new jumper from Mini Boden. Backpack and shoes still good from last year. Ginger wore her new backpack (empty) in honor of the occasion. Hazel's missing two teeth currently, and growing her bangs out (hence the bangs-braid - there are also a lot of clips and headbands holding them back these days.) We didn't do a lick of math or reading practice over the summer (I'm defiant that way), but we did learn about art, swimming, space, Amelia Earhart, farm animals, root beer floats, fish, pizza, idioms, music and of course baking. Always baking. It was an awesome summer.
And although Hazel's back in school, summer's not really over for us. In August we have a family reunion, a beach trip, more Art Tuesdays, pool passes, and lots more fun adventures. We'll just have to work around the school schedule.
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