104 Days of Summer Vacation: Painting on Location

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This one is fun to do if you have a spot where you can spend the day.  This also requires time.  I like painting at the Dow Gardens.  It may not be Monet’s garden but this one is a nice place with lots of flower and friendly staff.  This afternoon was beautiful and I wanted to paint some cloud formations into my background.  So I packed up my supplies and headed to the gardens.

Here is what you need to paint on location:

  • Water bucket
  • Water
  • Variety of paint brushes and sizes
  • Acrylic Paint: red, blue, yellow, black, orange, greens, white (I forgot the purple)
  • Pallet (ice cream bucket top)
  • Painting blanket
  • A beverage to keep you hydrated

When I arrived it was raining out, which was ok.  I’ve painted in the rain before.  Not a big deal.  When it’s lighting, I head inside.  I found my spot and decided what I wanted to paint.  I had a location in mind, but when I arrived it was cloudy.  Just before I decided to leave to a different spot, the sun came out and it was beautiful.  So I parked myself right then and there. I took out my supplies and started to paint.

Here are some steps for painting:

  • Unfold blanket and put supplies on top
  • Put water in water bucket
  • Sketch out a plan for the painting
  • Take out brushes and paint
  • Paint the sky and clouds first
  • Paint the background
  • Paint the middle ground
  • Paint the foreground
  • Sign the painting

And about four to five hours later you are done.  If you were not sitting in a chair but the ground make sure you stretch and step back from your work, every once and a while.  What is neat about painting on location is that you get natures sounds all around you.  There were a couple of times that bugs landed on my painting and my feet.  I had a dragonfly land on one of my painted flowers.  I just paint around the bugs.

Enjoy painting!

-Mrs. Berry

104 Days of Summer Vacation: Lake Fun

View of the Lake In the Summer by Christy Berry

If you get a chance to go the lake this summer there are several fun and wet activities. My personal favorite is fishing, but we already discussed that.  This is a long post but it is packed with fun ideas to do before the end of the summer.

1. Go Tubing

This is a fun activity; especially if you are eight years old. My daughter went for the first time this summer. She absolutely loved it and wanted to go again. Me, I was scared out of my wits every time she went on a giant wave. I was the spotter. As a spotter you need to remember a few things. A thumbs up means faster and a thumbs down means slower. The ok sign means you are ok.

There are a couple of things you need for this activity:

  • A boat strong and fast enough to pull you
  • An inner tube
  • A driver
  • A spotter
  • A life vest (correct size and weight for each passenger)

2. Go Water skiing or Wake boarding

I’ve tried the water skiing thing and it didn’t go so well. I have a problem getting up. I tend not to let go of the rope, even if I have lost the skis. It’s pretty funny from an observers point of view, but I ended up all wet with that little adventure. Now, I just watch other people, and I am fine with that.

There are a couple of things you need for this activity:

  • A boat strong and fast enough to pull you
  • Skis or a wake board
  • A driver
  • A spotter
  • A life vest (correct size and weight for each passenger)

3. Go Paddle Boating

I like this one because the speed is much slower and you can enjoy the scenery without getting bugs in your teeth. This is also friendly for the lake (no boat gas fumes or oil slick). If you don’t have a paddleboat you can usually rent them.

What you need:

  • A paddleboat
  • A life vest (correct size and weight for each passenger)

4. Go For A Boat Ride

There a lots of different kinds of boats. I’ve tried a few over the years. When you take a pontoon, the ride is slower but there is a ton of space to move around. Some of the more fancier types of pontoons have little areas for a toilet and changing area. These boats are mostly for cruising around slowly with a lot of people. A fishing boat is nice, but not really for spending the day cruising the lake. It works but I would rather be on a pontoon. Then there are the fast boats that make so much noise that it seems you are in the middle of a highway. I’ve seen sail boats on lakes before but never have been on one. There are kayaks canoes that need a bit of arm power to make them go. I usually end up in circles with these types of boats. But they are fun because you make your own power.

5. Look For Seashells

Whenever we are at the lake we look for unusual seashells. There are all kinds if you comb the side of the lake. Just be mindful if you are at a state or national park. Please don’t take seashells from these beaches. Leave them were you find them; that way other people can enjoy these special treasures too. Before taking them home be sure to wash them completely because they will smell all the way home.

6. Write Your Name In The Sand

On a recent trip we stood next to the water’s edge and put our feet prints in the sand and then we wrote our names in the sand and took a picture.

7. Make A Sandcastle

I have always enjoyed making sandcastles. I once won second place in a sandcastle building castle. There are a couple of different types of castles. You don’t need any fancy tools to make your castle, but a shovel and a bucket do help. I like to build mine close to the water but not to close that it will wash away with a big wave. My favorite castles are drip castles. These are made when you take wet sand and let it drip into a pile. You can get some really neat colors if the sand is black and white.

8. Bury Somebody In The Sand

I have actually buried my brothers in the sand but not to deep. We actually just coved them up with sand. You need to be careful when digging in the sand. You really don’t want to get buried to deep because the sand could crush you. Usually you just have the person lie down flat and then cover with sand so that they could make an easy escape if they needed to move.

9. Sit At The End Of The Dock

A good time to do this is when watching sunsets or sunrises. The lake is quiet and calm. I perfect time to relax and contemplate the world. I also like to fish at the end of the dock.

10 Make Your Own Boat

There are all kinds of ways that you can make your own boat. I like to use natural materials, like a piece of wood, and put little sea shells on it and put it in the water.

11. Skip Stones

The trick to this one is to find nice flat rocks that are not too big. When you skip stones, you will need a flat round rock. When you throw the rock, you throw it at an angle that is somewhat parallel to the surface of the water. This activity is best on calm water days. That way the waves do not interfere with how many skips you can get. Once you have the technique down, count how many skips you can do.

12. Catch Crawfish

This one takes practice and speed. I also recommend being careful so you don’t get pinched. When the water is calm and not over taken by waves from boats is a great time to catch crawfish by hand. The little creatures are pretty fast and sneaky but fun to catch. When you go to grab the crawfish, go for the body, you are less likely to get pinched. Once you are done catching them, let them go or eat them up if you know how to cook them. I usually let them go after looking at them.

13. Watch The Birds

This year there have been several more swans on the lake than in years past.  They are a lot of fun to watch.  A few of them actually came pretty close to use.  Of course, there are the noisy geese.  I like the loons best of all.  The ducks are cute too.  Last year, a duck decided to lay her eggs on the neighbors boat cover.  If you have an identification book you can look up the different varieties of the birds.

14. Watch Fireworks

This is a benefit of being on a lake.  So many people shoot off fireworks for the fourth of July.  This year we watched a spectacular show from a boat.  There is always the option of just sitting on a dock and watching the fireworks, or sitting in the lake house and watching from the windows.

15. Catch Butterflies

This one is a bit trickier because they fly so fast; however, if you are patient and walk slowly you can catch one and then let it go and watch it fly away.  I caught one and my little one opened my hands and gasped as the butterfly flew away.

I have made a short video clip for things to do at the lake.

Enjoy your day at the lake,

-Mrs. Berry

104 Days of Summer Vacation: Cool Down

With it being so hot, there are ways to keep cool during this latest heat wave.  I do not like the heat; in fact I love the bitter freezing cold weather.  I’m originally from Minnesota and several months out of the year it’s cold there.  Ok, it gets to be very cold there.  I find the perfect temperature is 70 degrees, anything over that is hot to me.  I try to find ways to stay cool when the thermometer is climbing.

My Dad Underwater

1. Go Swimming

Taking a cue from Goldie Locks, I find that I like the pool temperature to be not to hot or cold but just right.  When you go swimming take care to observe safety rules and swim with a buddy especially when there are a lot of people.  If you are swimming in a lake with zebra mussels, wear aqua socks, because they will slice your skin.  Have fun while being safe.

Screenshot from Facebook

2. Eat Ice Cream

This one is a personal favorite of mine.  I like to visit ice cream shops. I like the ice cream called “Dog Puke.”  There is always the Ice Cream Man.  When I was little, I would chase the truck.  I just love that sound even as an adult.  It is a Pavlov response.  Unless you have the unfortunate event of following this truck.  This image is from a Facebook post.

3. Wear A Wet Bandana

Find a bandana that has cooling gel in it.  Add cool water and wear around your neck or head.

4. Visit A Spray Park

Make sure you wear lots of sun screen as your run through the sprays.  Bring your camera for lots of fun shots.

5. Run Through A Sprinkler

This is one of my personal favorites.  When my brothers and I were little, my parents would turn on the water sprinkler and we would run through them.  I must admit, I still enjoy a good sprinkle on a hot day.

6. Have A Water Fight

This one is fun and you get to be a bit sneaky, my personal favorite spot is at the hose or with a really big bucket of water.  If you do use balloons, please make sure that you pick up all of the pieces.  If you squirt guns, make sure yours is the biggest unless you want to get wet.

7. Stay In The Shade And Read

Find a nice tall tree and sit in the shade while reading the Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  This is a nice book about a tree that plays with a boy and gives everything for him.

8. Stay Hydrogenated

Drink lots and lots of nice cool H20 aka water.  It is important to keep your fluid levels up because your body will sweat your fluids out to stay cool.

9. Go To An Air-condition Building

When I was pregnant I lived in an apartment with no air conditioning, and the landlord wouldn’t turn the heat off in the middle of the summer (I don’t live there anymore). During one of those really hot days, I would go shopping very very slowly at the grocery store.  Another option is to go see a movie.  I like this one because it’s a nice way to cool down and to see a movie.

10. Take A Warm Shower

I know that this seems crazy but it works.  Do this before bed and you will sleep cooler than before.

11. Create A Watercolor Painting

Find something that inspires you and put your brush to paper and create a water master piece.

Stay Cool!

-Mrs. Berry

104 Days of Summer Vacation: Visual Games

I just love playing games and there are a couple of “educational” games that I play with my daughter.  Today I am writing about two that I particularly like to play: Spot it, and Master Boggle.

Screen Shot of Spot It from Blue Orange Website

1. Spot It

This game is new to me this summer.  I was at a teacher type store and spotted it.  The range is for ages 7 to Adult.  I think it might be easier if you are younger because as an adult you over think the card.  Basically it’s a matching game super-sized.  There are a couple of different options to play when you play this game.  The cards are round and come in a round tine.  My favorite option is “The Tower”  here are the directions for this game (all of these directions come directly from the card):

1)      Preparing the game: Shuffle the cards and deal one card face-down to each player.  The rest of the cards from the draw pile, which is placed face-up in the center of the table.

2)      Object of the game: To collect the most cards.

3)      Playing the game: At the same time, players flip over their cards.  They try to spot the one symbol that appears both on the center card and on their own cards.  If you are the first player to do so call it out (example: “leaf”).  Then take the center card and place it face-up on top of the flipped card, building a personal pile.  Now you will use the top card of your personal pile.  Each time a new center card is revealed, this process is repeated.  Pay continues until there are no cards remaining in the draw pile.

4)      Winning the game: The player with the most cards in the personal pile wins.

It works on trying your eye for super matching and recognizing shapes, colors, and words.  Spot it is a whole lot of fun with tons of giggles and laughs.  Click here to visit their website.  I included a short video about this game from Blue Orange Games.

2. Boggle Master

Image of Boggle Master from Amazon

This game is a lot of fun unless you are playing with my brother, who is a walking thesaurus.  He would spot my mother and me fifty points if we were playing to 100.  I tried to find as many small words that I could because I knew that he would go for 10 letter words.  I am also notorious for making up words and would need to cross them off the list. He would still win.  Despite being schooled in Boggle, I really enjoy playing this game. I think the noise is my favorite part. Boggle is set up as a game to try to find as many words as you can.  There are different sizes for Boggle, I like the bigger version.  Each dice has different letter on each side; which means there are endless permutations for this game.


Pick a score that the group wants to play for, 25, 50, 75, 100, ect.

Shake the dice until they settle into their spot

Flip the timer over

Write down as many words that you can make, you can go up and down, sideways, but the dice need to connect.  You cannot use the same dice twice or go backwards. (Find words three or more letters)

After the timer is finished you need to stop

Now, here it the fun part, compare your lists; if somebody has your word both of you will cross of the word.  Count your words and letters.  For a three letter word you will receive 1 point.  For each additional letter you receive an additional point.

The game is over when the first person reaches the agreed upon score.

Click here to be sent to Amazon for Master Boggle.

Enjoy playing these two games.

-Mrs. Berry

104 Days of Summer Vacation: Beading

Necklaces I made this summer

I make no claim to be an expert at this.  If fact, my attempts at making beads almost when up in flames.  Ok, not really but I did get burnt.  I started making necklaces with my daughter last summer.  Since I posted images of my necklaces on Facebook, my mother purchased beads for Christmas presents.  Needless, to say, I have a new hobby.  This is a great way to sneak math into the summer because you are counting and creating patterns.

1. Read A Book About Jewelry

I have seen lots of books about jewelry making.  I don’t have one specifically to recommend.  So find one that you like.  If you know of a good book let me know.

2. Make A Necklace

This one is fun.  There are no rules on how to make a necklace as long as you like it and want to wear it.  I have tried a couple of different materials for string: string, stretchy stuff, fishing line, and hanging wire for frames.  My last several necklaces have been made out of hanging wire.   This spring, I was wearing one of my favorite necklaces and my youngest daughter pulled on it and the fishing line snapped it in half and beads were everywhere.  I was very sad and discourage.  I had extra hanging wire and thought maybe give this a try.  So far, she has tugged and it hasn’t come apart.  Here is a short video clip about how to make a necklace.

3. Use Recycled Materials

I was walking in JoAnn Fabrics the other day and I was walking down the button isle for no apparent reason.  I thought, hey might it be cool if I used a button for a middle.  I was looking for a large one that wasn’t to cheesy.  I picked this particular button because it was made from recycled materials.  I thought that was pretty nifty.  I tried a few different ways to attach it before settling on the way I strung it to the necklace.  I might try a different way next time.

My daughter making a bead

4. Make Your Own Beads

I don’t have all the fancy jewelry making materials, just a whole lot of glass seed beads.  So I thought why not try to make my own beads.  I tried using the shrinky dink type stuff.  There is where I got burned.  I forgot to wear gloves.  Then I tried using Modge Podge and scrapbooking paper.  That didn’t work out so well either.  I just didn’t like the look of the bead.  I guess; I like the glass kind.

My daughters' handprints

5. Make Your Own Middle

Ok, so the necklace is way cheesy but being a mom, I just love this.  I took both my daughter’s hands and painted them and put them on shrink dink and then shrunk them.  Before shrinking, I did punch a whole so I could string them.  I used this as the middle for a necklace.  I didn’t get burned when creating the middle.

Have fun creating a new accessory!

-Mrs. Berry

104 Days of Summer Vacation: Series

Recycled Flower Series by Christy Berry

For the last two years or so I have had four frames sitting in my basement that I picked up from a garage sale.  I have been stewing about what to paint on them.  I decided to paint different flowers on them in a series.  For this series, I wanted my pictures to be similar in style, theme, and size. I call this series Recycled Flower because there are imperfections in the frame and background board.  This project took several weeks to find flowers and paint.  I search out days that were sunny for shadows and highlights and the perfect flowers for the series.  I would photograph them, draw them out, and then paint them.

Lake Flower by Christy Berry

1. Paint A Rhododendron Flower

My first flower was from the “Lake House.”  The flower was from a huge rhododendron plant.  The sun was creating wonderful shadows on the flowers.  Since, this was the first flower; it set the tone for the rest.  I took several photographs of the flower to paint later.  The painting took around 10 hours start to finish over a couple of days.  I call this one Lake Flower.

Yellow Rose by Christy Berry

2. Paint A Yellow Rose

My next painting was from the Dow Gardens.  I wanted a rose and found several in the Rose Garden.  I took several different photographs trying to determine which one I would like to use.  I finally saw it, it was the tallest rose standing out by itself.  The day was sunny, so there were shadows that would match in the series.  Again, the painting took another 10 hours start to finish over a couple of days.  I call this one Yellow Rose.




Summer Daisy by Christy Berry

3. Paint A Summer Daisy

Now that I had two flowers in the series, I now needed two more.  I sent out a message for ideas. I settled on a daisy next.  I found this daisy at the Dow Gardens in the Children’s Garden while it was sunny.  I took several different shots of the daisies and I really like the shot from below looking up on the underside.  This was a different perspective from the first two paintings.  I tried a light blue background, but when I looked at the first two I changed the background to a dark blue.  This painting also took 10 hours start to finish over a couple of days.  I like the high contrast that I added to the painting.  I call this one Summer Daisy.

"Center of Interest" painting by Christy Berry

4. Paint A Center Of Interest Iris

I knew that I wanted a blue flower for the last painting.  The problem was finding one.  I found some very small ones and some that were in bunches.  I wanted a single flower for the last one.  Again, I returned to the Rose Garden in search of a blue flower.  I was on my way out and home when I saw a triangle iris.  I took several photographs of it, and then I continued on and saw it.  The iris was blue and the shapes were perfect for the last painting.  The day was sunny, so again to goes along with series of shadows and highlights on the flowers.  This painting also took 10 hours over several days.  I call this painting Center of Interest.

5. Photograph Your Progress

Along the way I took photographs and videos of my progress with the flowers.  I have put the compilation into an Animoto video.  I hope you like watching the progression.  The Recycled Flowers series is for sale.  They are ready to hang.  Best part about buying recycled frames is that they came with wire on the back.

I would appreciate feedback or comments that you have.  I would also like to see any series that you create.


-Mrs. Berry

104 Days of Summer Vacation: Donations

Tabitha donates her locks

My daughter needed a haircut and she wanted to donate her hair.  I thought what I great idea.  That had me thinking that of other simple way donate towards others.

1. Ronald McDonald House

After getting your happy meal or that big Frappe Mocha take the change and drop it in the change box for the Ronald McDonald House.

2. Good Will

While cleaning out your closet take the extra clothing and stuff animals to Good Will.  By donating your clothing you are helping out others and helping by not filling the landfills with perfectly good clothing.  You can also receive receipts for tax donations.

Screen Shot of Locks Of Love

3. Locks of Love

When it’s hot and sticky and you need a new haircut, consider going just a bit shorter to donate the hair to Locks of Love.  Locks of Love will take your pony tail hair and create a new hair piece for disadvantage children who have lost their hair.  The only cost to you is a stamp.


  • Grow 10 inches of hair
  • Have somebody divide your hair into ponytails and put a rubber band around the hair
  • Cut just above the rubber band
  • Print off the donation form
  • Address the envelope
  • Put your hair and the donation from in an envelope and mail your locks.

Click here is the link for Locks of Love.

4. Other Local Organizations

There are other places that are always looking for donations to help the local community.  Look for them next time you out and about.  When you donate locally, you are helping out your community.

5. Donors Choose

Teachers have put together a project and they are looking for donations.  The teachers and donors are anonymous. You can help out teachers and their classroom, and the best part is that you get to pick out what project you want to donate towards.  My personal favorite is Family Art and Literacy Bags by Mrs. B.  Hmm, I wonder who this is? It a really cool project where art and books are sent home to families so that they can read and create art together and then bring back the created artwork and books.  Then the next student takes it home for a week.

Happy Donating!

-Mrs. Berry

104 Days of Summer Vacation: Dirt

We all get a little dirty when we play in the dirt or with the dirt.  Hopefully, we don’t eat the dirt.  When I was little I used to make mud cakes and pies.  I remember this was a lot of fun and a whole lot of dirty.  Here are some things to do with dirt, mud, or clay.

1. Make a Dorodango

A Dorodango is simply put as a polished mud ball. Making a dorodango is harder than you think if you are trying to make a perfect sphere with dirt.  Different dirt will give you different results.  If you would like to see a collection click here.  There are a couple of steps involved in the process of creating a dorodango; one of them is a lot of time.

Here are the directions from www.dorodango.com.

  • Step 1: Create the Mud
  • Step 2: Create the Core:
  • Step 3: Create Preliminary Capsule
  • Step 4: Draw the Moisture Out
  • Step 5: Create Final Capsule Layer
  • Step 6: Polishing

I have also included a video on how to make a dorodango.  This video is a video on how to make a dorodango but it’s short (5 minutes) and is packed with easy instructions.  You will never look at mud the same way again.

Two Mud Pies

2. Make A Mud Pie

This one is very easy and messy.

  1. Take dirt
  2. Add a rainy day
  3. Play in the dirt and water after the rain is cleared up
  4. Form mud into a pie

3. Make a Pinch Pot

Making a pinch pot is not that hard to do, unless you are making a video about making a pinch pot.  I find playing with clay a whole lot of fun.  I lack a kiln so I use air dry clay with my daughters.  The clay has its own problems; like you could never actually eat or drink with something you made and it’s delicate.  I have done several art projects with air dry clay and sometimes we need to do surgery (glue things back together) if something falls apart. The benefit is that it is relatively cheap to purchase and gives students a chance to experience clay without firing.  You can also paint it afterwards.

Steps for making a pinch pot

  • Step 1: Take a small ball of clay
  • Step 2: Take the clay and make a ball.  I like to make the motion like a chew chew train.
  • Step 3: Take your thumb and put it in the middle of the ball
  • Step 4: While pushing your thumb out take your other four fingers and push in (like your pinching)
  • Step 5: Set aside and let dry
  • Step 6: Paint your pot

I have included how not to make a pinch pot video so you can see how not to make one.

4. Paint with Dirt

Ever see a car that has dirt on it with somebody’s scribble of “wash me” on it. Well, Scott Wade takes it to a whole new level.  Again, I saw this on the History channel. Scott Wade paints with Dirt, well more or less removes dirt and revels his art.  He has a gallery of different images that can be found at http://www.dirtycarart.com/ I can’t wait until my car is full of dirt to create my own art.  What a cool idea.  I have included his official video.  This is something to watch.  It is almost four minutes long.

5. Put A Polish On Your Clay

Painting the hand

Well, for those of us who don’t have a kiln there is an easy fix to this.  Go to a glaze bar or studio.  This is a bit pricey, depending on what you pick.  I wanted to keep my daughter’s hand prints on something a bit more permanent.  So each of them had a pre-fired tile; we painted each of their hands and squished it on the tile.  I then added their name and year on each of their tiles.  This was a lot of fun and the ladies were so nice there.  In about two weeks I will go and pick up their tiles.



6. Dig For Worms in the Dirt

This one is my personal favorite uses for dirt.  When you go fishing you need some sort of bait.  Well, there are a couple of ways to go about this.  One, go to the store and buy a bunch of worms.  Or, go digging for worms.  I like the digging for worms because it’s free.  Usually, I find them under leaves, or when I am gardening.  There is also the worm day in the spring.  This is the day when you can smell them.  It usually happens after the thaw and the first rain.  All the worms come out of the ground and they are all over the place.  I try to save as many as I can and put them back on top of the grass, but alas not all of them make it.  Then you have their dried worm corpses all over the place.  I digress, once you have enough worms, go fishing.  See my blog about what to do with fish.

7. Muddy Up A Baseball

Mud is part of America’s favorite past time sport.  I kid you not.  I didn’t even know about this until I saw this on the History Channel.  I started to dig up the dirt on dirt .I couldn’t believe that baseball players purposely put mud on the ball.  Who would do that?  Well, I found this story about the secret mud that is on baseballs.  I found this video from CNN.  Click here for the link or go here if it doesn’t work http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/10/28/baseball.mud/index.html?iref=24hours

Go out and find some dirt to play in!

-Mrs. Berry

104 Things To Do This Summer: Reusing Materials and Ideas

It’s that time of year when people put signs up and direct people to their location. It’s garage sale season. Let’s give out a big hurray! HURRAY. I like to head out and find deals at garage sales; mostly children’s clothing (much cheaper than the store) but also materials for artwork.

Repainted Canvas

1. Visit a garage sale

It’s fun to discover unknown treasures. Last week, I found a great deal on a frame with a picture for a dollar and fifty cents. The picture is one of those prints that are from a retail store. As my husband pointed out, I made sure that it wasn’t a valuable piece of art. Generally, when it’s has a clearance sticker on the back, and it’s a print with no signature you are good to go.

2. Reuse what you find

I took the painting and covered it up with a coat of white acrylic paint. The surface was canvas like with little bumps but not a canvas. I also put a coat of black paint on the outer frame. Now my painting needed an image on it. I told my daughter is was a polar bear in a snow storm eating an ice cream cone. She didn’t believe me.

3. Reuse an idea

Artists Do It With Flair by Anne Slattery

This idea has been sitting in the back of mind for over a year. Last summer, I went to a fabulous museum called the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. According to their website, “Operated by volunteers of the Two Rivers Historical Society, the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum is the only museum dedicated to the preservation, study, production and printing of wood type. With 1.5 million pieces of wood type and more than 1,000 styles and sizes of patterns, Hamilton’s collection is one of the premier wood type collections in the world.” So it’s a pretty cool place to visit. While I was there I saw this poster made by Anne Slattery in 2002 called Artists Do It With Flair. The size is 15.5” by 21.5”. I took a picture of it because the poster was not for sale. I was going to make my own. I forgot about it until I was in Barnes and Noble store looking at a book about mixed media and then it clicked.

4. Putting together reused materials and ideas

Artists Do It With Flair! Adapted by Christy Berry

I took my painting and the idea and put them together. I added a bit more to the original idea to make it mine. I used most of Anne Slattery’s words. I left out a few because I couldn’t read it in my photograph and I ran out of space. I did leave out the math part, because I can actually do math very well. I like how it turned out.

Artists Do It With Flair!
Adapted by Christy Berry

artists do it because there is no way around being creative if that is what you are given
artists do it best
artists do it well but screw it up by talking about it
artists do it like other artists and deny it
artists do it but wont talk about it
artists do it neurotically
artists do it because they don’t know how NOT to
artists do it, ironically, to survive
artists do it to make something
artists do it because we need to smile
artists do it because we can

This idea could translate into the classroom by having students find a section of text or poem that they like.  Then create a painting using the words in order or mixing the words up a bit.

Have fun treasure hunting!

-Mrs. Berry

104 Days of Summer Vacation: Scarecrows

Girl Scarecrows

Today’s theme is inspired by the Children’s Garden.  Every year we make the coolest scarecrows.  One year we made Titania, Queen of the Fairies.  Another year we made Heimlich from A Bug’s Life and last year we made the girls.  This year, it’s the girls again but a little bit different.

1. Create a scarecrow for your garden

Every great garden needs a scarecrow; preferably one that doesn’t go on an extended vacation looking for a brain.  The garden needs one to stay put and look after the garden when you are away.  There are a couple of ways to go about creating a scarecrow.  I learned how to make scarecrows from the fabulous Melissa (Dow Gardens Employee).

Material List for Scarecrows


  • Burlap Head
  • Twine
  • Straw
  • Frame (4 to 5 feet tall)
  • Yarn
  • Old Clothing
  • Farmers Hat
  • Acrylic Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Water Bucket
  • Extras
  • Mallet
  • Hot glue gun

Now that you have collected all your materials you are ready to make your scarecrow.

  1. Take the burlap head and paint a face on the front.  Use acrylic paint because your scarecrow will be in your garden rain or shine and you don’t the paint to fade.  When painting with acrylic be aware that this type of paint will not come out of your clothing.
  2. To make the hair, pick any color yarn.  This year we chose blue and rainbow colored yarn.  In the past, we have had pink.  Make the hair as long or as short as you would like.  When making your hair take seven to ten strands of yarn and knot them together in one knot.  The extra can be used as bangs.  To add the hair a simple way is to use a hot glue gun.  (Adult supervision is necessary for this tool.  I’ve even burnt myself and then the skin peeled off.  That was uncomfortable.  Place a dot at the top of the burlap and then the knot on top of the hot glue.
  3. Add any extras, such as flowers or anything else to the head.
  4. Take the frame (wooden “t” shaped frame) and add clothing.  Cut the ends shorter on the side of the “t” if you have trouble getting the clothing on the frame.  It is important to tie off the bottom of your scarecrow before you add hay.  Otherwise it will all fall out.  A double knot with twine does the trick.  You also need to think how heavy the straw will get when it rains.  Tie off the sleeves on the same way.  If you chose paints, you can take the pole up one leg and tie the paints with twine (think suspenders).
  5. Add straw until the scarecrow’s body is nice and fat.
  6. If you chose to add hands, fill gloves with hay and safety pin the shirt.  The feet are the same way.
  7. Find a spot for your scarecrow; think about the shadow it will create around your plants.  A mallet is a nice way to whack it into the ground.  Make sure it will not fall over in a storm.  Please don’t attach the scarecrow’s head yet, because you will give it such a headache.
  8. Fill the head with straw and then slide it onto the pole.  Tie the head to the pole with twine.  If you chose to add a hat, make sure it’s secure to your pole.
  9. Stand back and take a look at what your creation.

I have made a short video clip about creating a scarecrow.

2. Write a story for your scarecrow

Now that you have created your scarecrow create a wonderful story behind your creation. Give your scarecrow a name and how did your scarecrow come to be.  These are things that could be included in your story:


Where was the scarecrow born?

What does the scarecrow like to do in the winter months?

Who does the scarecrow like to hang out with?

What is the scarecrow afraid of?

3.Watch the short clip from the Wizard of Oz.

The Scarecrow is telling Dorothy what he would do if he had a brain.

4. Create a piece of artwork with the scarecrow as the theme.

Image from Artsonia

Texture is the main focus of the art lesson.  Afterwards students create an acrostic poem about Texture.  Madison’s (2nd grade) picture uses several elements and here is her poem:

Texture is
X-ray Vision
Raining Fields
Exploring Crows

Enjoy freighting crows away!

-Mrs. Berry

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: