104 Days of Summer Vacation: Painting on Location

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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.

Directions:

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.

Artfully,

-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.

Steps:

  • 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

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