Category Archives: The kids are all right

Par for the Course

lil divots As summers go, ours ended up being pretty mellow, no camp no big vacation, lots of hanging about the house getting under foot making trouble, bugging the dog…  The lil peeps ened up getting into games, board games, cards, crosswords, anything with rules and a purpose.  We found a horde of used putters at the thrift store and suddenly the summer was golf on demand. Rather than shilling out $20 for every trip to the mini strip, we decided to build our own courses and designed a set of flags that traveled in the car along with us for impromptu games.  This has become a great activity for them- setting up a course usually takes twice as long as a game, as they look for natural hazards and geographical anomalies.  My son especially enjoys hitting into the rough and water and mud hazards are a magnetic destination rather than something to be avoided.

Since making flags was their own swell idea, the kids were enlisted in some serious production work- way to keep the manipulative motor skills honed over break!  We hand stitched the numbers to the front of the flags then I attached a second layer to the back using a machine.  We used a synthetic felt from the craft store since it’s cheap and stands up well making the numbers easy to see from a distance.

8th holeLucy especially liked the project.  She and I tend to have relaxed, random conversations while we’re stitching.  Both kids like to sew but burn out quickly- by having lots of colors to choose from and different thread handy, they stuck with the tasks a bit longer.  Each of them designed the flag for their age and suddenly the numbers became personified with a hidden kid symbol language ascribed to each.

We’ve taken the flags to one of the larger flat parks near our house and had a great time, really spreading the course out over large distances.  We avoid using drivers or going for big hits, don’t want to scare/wound the locals.  Ideally with a mini course design, you’d want to be able to make a hole in one on every hole, with challenges for not getting it right the 1st time. With a guerrila course it’s a bit hard to structure, plus we aren’t too hung up on the rules.  We’ve been using cardboard strawberry boxes for the holes, they are light, stackable and easy to carry. Paper cups would work just as well,we just happened to have the boxes lying around.

The back of the flags are cut so they hang either atop the wooden dowels or can be hung as a garland.  As hoped the look great strung up inside and for his 9th birthday my son wants a golf party, no prob bro. we got the decor done already!

I’ve just uploaded the “how to” info for making your own flags on

july 09 867

instructables if you want to make your own set.

The Yolk’s on You

96 ears and 96 eyesThere was a plan- to make those super cute sugar egg dioramas like the ones my mom would give to me every Easter.  I’m still a novice with royal icing, I can make it, but the fancy decor is a bit beyond my skill set.  I decided to take some short cuts and go with the glue gun/rickrack double combo.  We’d done a dry run at craft night on Thursday and my friends had all walked away with lovely treats.  My first step was to paint the inside of the hollow sugar eggs with glitter glue, forgetting how wet some glues can be.  Lucy’s egg held up well, but the glue completely disintegrated the roof of Xander’s egg and it imploded on itself.  Fortunately the boy had asked for something spooky and really is there anything more creepy than a fly emerging from a giant egg, a gutted skeleton perched in it’s mandibles… I’d say the whole thing was a learning moment, and once again a crafting accident has turned into a gift home run, needless to say, my son is delighted though he is seriously questioning the Easter Bunny’s judgement.

Monster Mashup

I’m about to teach a kid’s film production class at PNCA a lovely arts college here in Portland. It’s been about 15 years since I’ve taught kids film making and back then we did all our editing in video, not on the computer…. and when I was in film school we edited on the archaic Steinbeck flatbeds. When we made cuts, we literally cut the film, little sharp razors, spliced fingers, bleed for your work! So I’ve spent the last little bit getting up to speed on iMovie, since we’ll be using it for the class. My vote is still out, there are some great tools there, but I miss the hands on aspect of the old old old days. Needing something to work with, and not having the right firewire for the camera, I scanned my son’s fall journal and set up the music in Garage Band.