treat yo’ self

Raffle 5

Every year, as part of the girls’ elementary school soiree (the biggest fundraiser of the year), I help put together the auction items – live auction, silent auction, and four to five incredible raffle baskets. The raffle items are collections of donations that can be worth as much as one thousand dollars – not a bad haul for the price of a few tickets!

Because the visual aspect of the items varies so much – many of them are big ticket gift certificates rather than big flashy items that would show up well in a physical basket – we opt to make posters to display behind the big fishbowls the tickets are dropped into. The event program has more detailed explanations of the prizes, but the posters are a fun way to organize this part of the event.

I’ve done many types and styles of posters throughout the years, but this year’s ice cream social theme seemed to lend itself to watercolors. I purchased four watercolor boards a week ago, so I wouldn’t have to worry about mounting them on sturdy backings, but it’s been so busy around here that I didn’t get a chance to start on them until the weekend.

On Friday night, after the kids were in bed, I finally had a chance. But I couldn’t do it. I was spent. Instead I sat down in the living room with a book and took a deep breath. The room was quiet, the flowers my mom brought the past weekend were fragrant and still hanging on, and I was admiring this watercolor that F made for her teachers recently. So even though I wasn’t technically working on the posters, my mind was churning through some ideas. And that painting gave me a good one.

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Saturday afternoon, armed with a second cup of coffee and some masking fluid, I got to work. I painted out “treat yo’ self” in masking fluid and let it dry. Then I set to work, layering in different colors, in an effort to get something that looked a little like melted summer treats.

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I took the lids from the large yogurt containers I was using for my water, and painted the rims with color and made a few “glass rings”. I built the colors up in several layers until I got the look I was going for. After everything was good and dry, I rubbed off the masking fluid, and voila!

Raffle 1

A second basket was titled “Goodie Two Shoes” – this basket had lots of shoes and handbags, as well as some great gift certificates for items to share with a friend. I took the idea of pairs into the ice cream realm and landed on these popsicle shapes – and just repeated them over and over again.

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I cut out a chipboard template, made a few measurements, and then traced the pattern around the board. I outlined each pop in masking fluid, and then tapped a full brush gently to get some perfectly round drops all over the board.

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I moved around the board again, layering colors in pools of water to create various popsicle flavors.

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Pulling masking fluid up when you’re finished is really fun – E helped me do this, her favorite part. I love the way the color seeps to the edges, and the white dots were just perfect scattered about. This turned out just like I imagined it in my head. It would be fun to do a set of summer-y cards with this technique – or maybe I’ll use the idea for the girls’ party invites this summer.

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I scored real popsicle sticks with an x-acto blade, snapped them in half, and laid them out on the board. E thought they were too long – and she was right – so I scored and cut about 3/8″ inch of each one. Thirty-two of them if you are keeping track. Because I’m crazy.

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That purple one looks EXACTLY like the blackberry yogurt breakfast pops I made last summer. Yum. These boards make me hungry.

Raffle 2

“You Can’t Top This” was supposed to look like a tower of ice cream scoops – but it sort of looks like marbles. Oh well. I used the circle theme to add details related to the prizes – this one included Disney World passes, so there are the ears!

Raffle 8 Raffle 3

For the “I Scream, You Scream!” poster, I turned a waffle cone into a megaphone and “shot” out a mass of ice cream colors and sprinkles.

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E cut the sprinkles for me, and I glued them on by brushing on light coats of glue and then blowing the sprinkles across the board.

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Colorful, fun, and the four boards took about seven-eight hours total, with drying and cleaning up time. Not too bad for last minute ice cream fun.

Raffle 4

The party was so much fun – the weather cooperated, and the venue, decorations, food, ice cream, people – everything was just perfect. A good way to mark off another great year, and an even better way to support the year to come. Summer’s almost here! Grab your popsicles – I’m ready!

i miss this place, i miss this space

Confirmation 2

I’ve been thinking about places / spaces a lot lately. It’s a common theme in the books and articles I’ve been reading, and I’ve been using those two words interchangeably in recent conversations as well. I’m not sure they should be interchanged so freely; I wonder now about the difference between their definitions, but I don’t have time to look them up or study them. So naturally I do.

space. n. 1. a continuous area or expanse that is free, available, or unoccupied. 2. the dimensions of height, depth, and width within which all things exist and move.
syn: room, capacity, area, volume, expanse, extent, scope, latitude, margin, leeway, play, clearance.

place. n. 1. a particular position or point in space. 2. a portion of space available or designated for or being used by someone. “a place was reserved for her”
syn: location, site, spot, setting, position, situation, area, region, locale.

The differences are interesting to me. I’ll ruminate on those another day. For now I’ll pick out the meaty parts – this space has certainly been unoccupied lately. I tumble from one thing to the next at breakneck speed until I collapse into bed each night. It’s okay though, I’ve been here before. I am good at many of these things, and I’m glad to do them. I’m trying to do them well.

I’ll get back to this place soon. “a place was reserved for her” – what a treat to read that as an example. I’d like to set a goal for myself to post daily, in smaller doses, for the next month – starting later next week. I have so many notes on things I’ve wanted to talk about and share, and I can see a light at the end of the tunnel on so many of these outside commitments that have been demanding my time these days.

I thought I’d open the floor to you a bit as well. Anything in particular you’d like me to write about, update on, answer in this area? I’ve got thirty pieces to write – what would you like to hear more about or see more of? Let’s call this a kickoff to summer, a gentle nudge back into regular writing, filling this space. Reclaiming this place.


brief pauses in the garden

This blog is starting to look like I live in the garden full time. Full is a good word to describe life right now, full to the brim of so many wonderful things that are keeping us so busy. I can’t really complain about being busy, because we’ve been enjoying ourselves immensely. Still, come Sunday evening, we’re ready for a pause – even a short one – just enough to catch our breath before another week begins.

Weekend 3

That is May for you, with weekends perfect for visiting and camping and going on long runs through the park. Field trips and school activities, preparations and programs, cleanups and yard work and laundry when we get to it.

Weekend 10

I can feel that pull of summer – it’s counted down in days now, nine more school days until it starts. I’ve been out of the academic world for several years now, but I really miss the cyclical nature of it when May rolls around. We’re all ready for summer, and the different sort of pace it brings. Baseball, bike rides, swimming, beach vacations and birthday celebrations, heat… bring it on. We’re ready.

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Weekend 9

My family came in for the weekend, and after I have them send me a few photos, I’ll post more about our time outside the garden. I love some of these I captured Saturday afternoon – these kids are growing and changing so quickly, and are so much fun to be around.

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We spent Saturday afternoon in the garden with them, showing them what was new this week.

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With six adults and five children, we were able to split up a bit and wander around. The sun was out, which cut the chill in the air. The wedding party setting up for the evening got lucky. It was a gorgeous day.

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Weekend 11

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Weekend 5

weekend 2

Weekend 1

It’s onto Monday again – and we might be a little tired, but we’re refreshed as well. Summer is almost, almost here.