Thursday, April 19, 2012

Once Upon a Time, a Princess Studied in an Ivory Tower

Photo credit: RC Designer on
This first paragraph of this article by Katy Waldman sums up a frequent fantasy of mine: 
In my alternate life, I am applying to grad school. Not so much to individual programs as to a singular gleaming citadel called Grad School that perches above the workaday world, winking at passersby. It has a library and dining halls and courtyards filled with colored leaves. Unless those leaves are surfboards or cross-country skiers. I’m not picky about location.
The rest of the article doesn't really hit home for me but it brings me back around at the end:
Going to graduate school is no longer a way of opting out of the endless search for a better job, the best job, any job. It’s become an element of—a strategy to be deployed in—that search. The escape I dreamed of is only an illusion. Airy academia will not save me from the grind of being an adult. Rather than magic citadels where you can weather the recession and mute its related stresses, Grad School is now part of a larger calculation—one in which love of learning defers to crummy real-world concerns, just like in the rest of post-college life. 
If this dream is gone then what is left for we pseudo-intellectuals to fantasize about in the fleeting moments between worrying about pre-school admissions and paying the mortgage?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Dude. Why Have I Not Seen This Yet?


coolmomtech, I am disappointed that I found this on my own and not through you! This adorable photobooth strip plus 10 other designs. And they have free shipping right now if you spend $30.00. Mothers' Day is coming.

*This is not an endorsed post. I just think this is neat - and supremely accessible.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Rock, Scissor, Paper - SHOOT!

Photo credit: Meme! on
Last night when I was sneaking in one last smooch while tucking in the Boy for the night we had a conversation that went kind of like this:

BOY: "Mommy, let's play 'Rock, Scissor, Paper, SHOOT!"

ME: "Okay."

BOY: "Rock, Scissor, Paper, SHOOT!"

I put out a fist for Rock. The Boy put his thumb straight up in the air, pointed his index finger at me and curled the other three fingers on his hand back towards his palm.

Photo credit: TheChanel on

Apparently, SHOOT beats Rock, Scissor, and Paper.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

"My daughter just thinks that all moms fly the Space Shuttle."

quote attributed to Air Force Col. Eileen Collins, first female Space Shuttle commander, 1999.

So Bonnets for Boys are much more difficult than Bonnets for Girls. I offered Dinosaurs, Bugs, Lizards, Jungle Safari (thinking hot glue, faux leaves, bags of plastic animals - see where I'm going with that? Nice ideas.). But nay, the Boy picked "SPACE" for his hat. And somehow I got the cockamamie idea that it would be awesome if it had its own light source. Yes, I did just write that.

Okay then - off the dollar store (and the $1 bins at the craft store):

1 "straw" fedora

1 bag mixed size foam balls (8)
1 paper mache orange
1 star garland
1 2-pack foam discs
hot glue gun/glue
bamboo skewers
glitter glue - assorted "planety" colors

yellow poster paint & brush
garden clippers
1 LED book light

When I bought all of this stuff (and there was more that I didn't use but that will get shoved in the craft bin to maybe be used another time or purchased in triplicate every time I think I need something like it and then thrown away) I had no idea how I was going to assemble this hat. So I started with what I knew I needed to do no matter what, which was to turn the foam balls into plants. I tried covering them in felt, thought about painting them with poster paint and then stumbled upon a few bottles of glitter glue. DING DING DING DING DING! Winner, winner, chicken dinner (and all that foofaraw).

So, anyway - hooray for Google Images - I looked up pictures of what the planets look like and approximated same on the foam balls with glitter glue and a few bits of felt for Jupiter's spot and Saturn's ring(s). First though, I speared each ball with a skewer and set up a foam disc as a drying station.

Then, for the next two days I thought about how to make the sun light up, what to use for the sun, and how to put the whole thing together.* The Man suggested mounting the planets around the sun - cutting each skewer to a different length. I really liked this idea but had not yet determined what was going to be the Sun and I had not painted the planets with that orientation in mind so I was concerned about how that would play out (FIRST.WORLD.PROBLEM).

So then it was 10:00 the night before the hat needs to be brought in to school and I still have no idea what I am doing - although earlier that evening I had decided on using the papermache orange for the Sun and I painted it yellow so at least there was that.

I started playing around with the hat band. It was glued to the straw part of the hat and easily separated when I used the blade of the scissors to pry it open. 

This was in the center back of the hat and I clipped the book light there and bent the neck so that the light was parallel to the top of the hat facing up.  Then I opened up more sections the same way around the band and figured I could stick the planets around the perimeter of the hat. A trial run showed this to be too unstable. So I stopped goofing around and admitted that the Man was right - mount the Sun to the hat and then mount the planets to the sun (I hate when he is right!). 

To mount the sun, I put two skewers into the bottom of the now-yellow orange like the legs of a capital "A" or a lambda for you ancient languages nerds out there. I touched up the bottom where the original skewer had been but I recommend waiting until everything else is done before putting wet paint on the center piece of your solar system that you need to touch continuously during assembly. I still needed to figure out how to mount the dang thing to the hat. First I stuck the skewers right through the straw on the top of the hat but again, stability seemed like it was going to be an issue so back to the hat band. I determined where the skewers should be mounted by using the uber-scientific method of folding the hat in half and then squeezing it together between my fingers so they could be mounted evenly. 

I inserted the Sun's skewers into each opening and squirted a bunch of hot glue into the pocket between the straw and the ribbon. I ran a bead of hot glue along the inside of the skewer to connect it directly to the hat. 

Then, using the garden clippers, I cut down the skewers to different lengths starting with Mercury and then adding 1/2" to 1" in length to each successive planet. Each plant got jammed into the Sun. I wrapped the star garland around the whole thing and turned on the light. 


Then I washed the paint brush and ate a cupcake while I waited for the hot glue gun to cool.

Other points of interest: 
1) To be a better parent, I would have done this and the Butterfly Garden hat WITH my children instead of FOR them. But I love this shit and don't want it to get messed up.
2) I know the title quotation is about a daughter's perception of her mother and this post is about a hat for my son but I would be happy if either (or both) of my kids thought I was as cool as an astronaut.
3) I chose not to include Pluto as a planet and this makes me a little sad not least because the Boy's preschool teacher allegedly told the class that Pluto is no longer a planet because it exploded.

* I did other stuff too. Maybe I will blog about my knitting escapades soon.

In A Butterfly's Garden With You

Bonnet contest at school. Bonnets and girls are easy. Flowers? Butterflies? Fairies?

The Girl picked butterflies. Off to the dollar store!

1 craft foam cowgirl hat
2 shower scrubbies (green)
2 4-packs of glittery foam butterflies on sticks
1 10-pack of glittery foam flowers
1 6-pack of cello butterflies (in my craft bin)
Needle & thread
Hot glue gun/hot glue
Garden clippers (or something comparable to clip the bamboo skewers)

First I released the mesh from the two scrubbies. The mesh was attached to the handle with zip-ties which were easily clipped with scissors. This left me with two long tubes of mesh.

I draped the mesh around the ultra-pink cowgirl hat and decided to use a running stitch to attach the mesh to the brim of the hat. Hot glue would work well too. Use low temp with the craft foam!

Now I had a big fluffy net around a hat. I started sticking the skewered butterflies and flowers into the mesh. The skewers were too long so I had to trim them - I found that garden clippers made short work of the task.

So the sparkly flowers and butterflies are in the "grass" looking like Peeps to me! Now the hard part - hot gluing the bits in place. This is "hard" because you need to be quick enough to get the bit in the mesh before the glue dries! If you are brave and don't need a preview you can glue right after you trim the skewers.

I found these more realistic looking butterflies in my craft bin and decided to stick them on too. They started out on skewers but the glue attaching them had dried out so I pulled each off before artfully placing them in the mesh grass.

And . . . Hat!

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Next Crazy Thing

Solar system "bonnet" for the Boy. Butterfly Garden hat for the Girl.

More soon. Must go hot glue gun all the things so they can be ready for the kids to take in the morning.