Tuesday, January 29, 2013

10 Things You Wish You Knew About Me

For you curious readers,  here are 10+ facts about me:

1. First born.
2. Left handed (so are my two younger brothers.)
3. I was born on a Sunday (so were my two younger brothers.)
4. Greek-American
5. Studied 5 years of Italian.
6. I still remember my address in Florence: 14 via Castellani
7. I still nurse my 28 month old daughter.
8. My guilty pleasure is listening to 80's Freestyle Music.
9. My favorite food is pastichio. (Greek Lasagna)
10. He may not think so, but I adore him.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Project Life 365- Week 3

Here is this week's installment of Project 365.
A #forgotten box of books in the attic. Homemade donuts are the ultimate #temptation.  Isn't it #confusing that the baby prefers broccoli over pizza? The first #sign_of_winter = more than an inch of snow. I get my #news at Five Guys. An unexpected joke gets me smiling #this_is_so_me.  My husband's make shift cufflinks showing off his #style.  Until next week......

Friday, January 18, 2013

Have You Made Your Mark?

Friday Art Beat

I am beginning a new Friday series called, "Friday Art Beat." Every Friday I will post an art lesson based on concrete art pedagogy which will engage children to think creatively and critically.  The goal of these lessons is not to create a masterpiece, but to teach your child how to question and think deeply about art concepts.  Since, I have pre-school/toddler age children at home, I am tailoring the lessons towards this age level. Yet, I will also offer means to adapt these concepts towards older children. 

The Dot, by Peter Reynolds

As a child, I remember not feeling confident about my own artistic abilities.  In fact, in 4th grade I created a watercolor painting of a rose.  I thought it was awful, it did not resemble a rose and I felt insecure. What would my classmates would think if they saw it?  I quickly discarded the product into the trash can.  Minutes later, the teacher dipped his hand into the garbage can and retrieved the painting.  "Who painted this?" he exclaimed.  No one raised their hand.  I was too embarrassed to claim responsibility for this horrible painting.  The teacher shook his head and said, "This is beautiful!"  He then proceeded to hang the painting on the wall.  For the rest of the school year, I knew this was my painting, secretly proud of the recognition. 
In the same way, "The Dot" tells a similar story of a very insecure little girl named Vashti. It begins when she tells her art teacher that she, "just can't draw."  Her art teacher brilliantly tells her to "just make a mark and see where it takes you." Vashti takes a marker and stabs the paper with a dot. The teacher studies the dot and proceeds to tell Vashti, "now sign it."   The next week Vashti enters the classroom to find her dot and signature framed above the teacher's desk.  Her fear dissipates and her confidence grows.  She spends the next few days creating dots of all shapes and sizes.  Before she knows it, she has enough artwork to be presented in an art show at school.  All of her friends are amazed at her work.  In the end, Vashti friend, lacking in confidence, asks her how to draw, she tells her friend to, "make a squiggle" and "sign it."  

This sweet story reminds us that we are all vulnerable and get stuck in what we think art should be.  Our fears dictate our thoughts where we are not free to create.  I read this story to my 4 year old and two year old.  My four year old was mostly impressed with the art show part.  My two year old was indifferent (as with most books). 

Before we started the lesson, we discussed circles and dots.  I asked them to go around the house to find objects that were circles. Simon zeroed in on the donuts we made the previous day and Vivi found some circle puzzle shapes.  

We used our objects as inspiration for our artwork.  I gathered some watercolor paper, tempera paint, contact paper, and scissors.  The easiest way for me to show Vivi how to make dots, was to create a paint resist on her paper.  I cut out various circles shapes out of contact paper, and had her stick them wherever she wished on the page.  

I let her choose her paint palette, which consisted of blue, yellow, brown, red, and white.  I stepped back to let her make her own creative choices.  If she wanted to mix colors, I let her.  If she wanted to change brushes I let her.  I gave no input or instruction, except cutting out the circles.  
Simon was more interested in creating his own dots with his paint brush.  The dots turned into huge splashes, which wound up on my walls.  Yikes!!  Yet, it was tempera and completely washable.  
In the end, Simon became interested in creating a dot resist with the stickers.  He of course chose only blue and brown.  Once the paintings dried, I removed the stickers and framed them.  

Enrichment Activities: 

Ages 2-5

  •  Cut out circle sandpaper circle shapes in various sized and have child trace circle with their   finger.
  • Make dots out of play dough.
  • Have child trace circles using circle templates
  • Go on a circle treasure hunt around the house.  

Ages 6-9

  • Offer students a variety of materials to create their masterpiece. 
    • Colored paper in various sizes.
    • The end of an eraser they can dip in paint.
    • Create a crayon dot resist.
  • Students can write a poem after they complete their artwork.  (Click on the link for ideas).
  • Students can have an art show and discuss and critique their work. 
I hope this lesson has inspired you, your child, or a student to "make your mark!"
Have you ever felt insecure about your artistic abilities?  I would love to hear your story.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Queen City

About 2 weeks ago we took a road trip to visit extended family in Cincinnati, OH.  For me this was a fun and nostalgic visit.  I went to grad school at the University of Cincinnati, so I enjoyed showing my husband and children The Queen City's architecture and vistas.

I bet you are wondering why Cincinnati is called, "The Queen City?"  Apparently, Cincinnati grew so rapidly that by the 1820's it was considered the Queen City of the western frontier.

Our first stop was the Kroger building, where my very talented cousin-in-law, Jonathan Queen and his interns were commissioned to paint this mural.  Definitely check out Jonathan's artwork, his work is fantastic!

After a quick coffee stop downtown, we drove through the University of Cincinnati campus, then up through Eden Park where we passed through the Cincinnati Art Museum campus. We then stopped to snap up some Ohio River views.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Project Life 365: Week 2

This was the 2nd week of Project Life 365.  The challenges this week, forced me to think about composition, and making deliberate choices.  For each challenge, I would capture a few different photos, edit them, then pick the strongest one.

Day 7 #simplicity
This was the top of a steeple from the Cincinnati skyline.  There is nothing more simple than looking at the cross and putting our faith in Him.

Day 8 #front_door
Vivienne sits at the front door playing with my vintage Minnie Mouse.

Day 9 #in_a_drawer
This challenge forced me to use the new drawer liners I bought weeks ago.  I love the contrast of pattern with the bright colors of the markers.  Trust me, my drawers do no normally look so minimal.  This was one of my deliberate choices to make the composition a bit stronger.

Day 10 #game
A bit of alphabet fun.

Day 11 #signature
This is my Christening cross with my name inscribed in Greek.

Day 12 #mini
Vivi has a Minnie Mouse addiction.  

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Friday, January 11, 2013

The Mirage in My Head

If you are like me, you've been inundated with articles, blogs, and Pinterest posts about how to get organized this year. My favorite is the "Get Organized in 52 Weeks" or something like that.  Really? I can barely keep my laundry put away.  I like to think that I'm organized, but it's this mirage that exists only in my head.   Don't get me wrong, I'm not a slob either, I am just a very lazy Virgo.
I won't pretend to show anyone how to get organized, in fact I'd like some help.  I'm just proud that after a year (long story) I now have my makeup in one spot.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Life Full Circle

Project Life 365- A Personal Challenge

If you follow me on social media, you might have caught me post a photograph a day, with the hash tag #projectlife365.  Project Life 365 is a new interactive photography forum which gives participants a daily prompt, and encourages them to post photographs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.  The challenge is geared towards those who would like to grow, learn, and also inspire others.  There are no right or wrong answers, just the process and joy of creating. 
This week's prompts were:

Day 1: Resolution. 
I resolved to learn to how create a sock bun.  I know, kind of dumb, but everyone takes their resolutions so seriously.  I am not going to save the world by being kind, or losing 50 lbs.  This seemed like a funny attainable goal.  Not to mention the fact that I was sick of my husband teasing me about my messy "college" bun.

Day 2: You_Today.
We took a little road trip to visit family in Cincinnati last week.  My cousin so graciously watched the kids while Dustin and I went shopping, or rather I went shopping. I bought these red jeans, because they looked good, and frankly they made me happy.  Not to mention I found this $4.00 shirt at Nordstrom Rack.

Day 3: Optimistic.
I am optimistic these feet will climb to great heights.

Day 4: Graceful.
I captured this image traveling through Indiana.  These beautiful wind turbines just looked so graceful to me.

Day 5: View.
My son was enjoying the view from our bedroom, as he saw glimmers of snowflakes falling.

Day 6: Still_Life.
Our lazy beagle, Bingo, masked as stuffed animal, competing for the best pose.  

Follow me for weekly Project Life 365 updates.  If you are participating in this challenge, I would love to see your work!


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