Painted Terra Cotta Pots - Project for Kids

I haven't written in this blog in forever. I've gotten involved in so many other things that I have let this go. But I'm hoping to revive it a bit and I think I came up with one way to do it - arts and craft projects. I am an art therapist and work at a non-profit providing art to adults with disabilities. I find a lot of project ideas online but also come up with some on my own. I tried something out today and was very pleased with the effect so I thought I would share it.

I did this project with my class (like I said, adults with various disabilities) but I know if would be a great project for kids too. Here's the finished product (I made this one as a quick example):

Finished Painted Terra Cotta Pot

So, what will you need? You'll need the following: 1 terra cotta pot (I used 4 inch but any size would work), masking tape, oil pastels (any color - I used white and yellow for the sample), acrylic paint (any color you choose - I used a cool blue), water, mixing bowl, paintbrush, and paper towels.

Materials Needed
First, you need to tape off the pot. You can tape it in any way that you choose. I just put 4 vertical stripes on it, trying to space them evenly apart. If you wanted to, you could even get fancy and cut out shapes or letters. Just make sure you rub your fingers over the tape a lot, especially the edges, to try to seal it down as much as possible. Paint will seep underneath a bit, which adds to the design, but you don't want it to seep too much.

Next, color with the oil pastels on the pot. You can color over the tape as it will be peeled off at the end. Scribbling works well for this (this is why this project can work well for even young children). I alternated yellow and white oil pastels and just scribbled, filling in the area between the tape. You can also color the rim inside, but I wouldn't bother trying to color deep into the pot since it wouldn't be visible anyways when it is filled with soil and it's difficult to color way inside.

In a disposable mixing bowl (I use leftover margarine/sour cream/butter containers) dilute the acrylic paint with water. I'd say at least a 1:1 ratio (1 part water to 1 part paint) but you might need it less or more depending on the paint that you use. I only used the blue paint for the sample so far but I would assume many bright colors would work. I'm guessing lighter colors like white or light pink might not show as well but haven't tried them.

Cover the entire pot with the watered down paint. Give it a minute to set in, and then take paper towels and rub the pot. Rub until you get the effect that you want. The paint will soak into the pot except where the oil pastel is and the paper towel will wipe off the excess.

Let it dry and then carefully pull off the masking tape to reveal the finished product. You can seal it with a sealer if you desire. I would highly recommend this if you are planning on using the pot outside or intend to use it with soil and water. If it's purely for decoration, then a sealer is not required.

Here's a closeup of the pot from above so you can see the texture:
Closeup of Texture
If you try this project, I'd love to see the outcome! Feel free to link to pictures in the comments. :)

Another View of Finished Pot

Life Tends to Get Away From Us

I truly did not forget about this blog, but it seemed like there was always something going on. Writing here got pushed further and further down on the list of things to do. :(

There have been plenty of changes since I last wrote. I was working in a part time work-at-home position. It was very nice not having to leave home to work, but at the same time the schedule was difficult. My husband got a new job. HUGE yay because the pay and benefits are way above what he was getting. BUT, it's 3rd shift. We're making it work, but my work schedule wasn't. It came down to I had to quit for now or he'd end up losing his job due to not being able to sleep. I quit right before Christmas. I told them I might be interested in coming back for the summer only and may still do that since we wouldn't have Kierra's school schedule to work around.

As for other things, Kierra is more than half way through her first year of school. It has been very good for her. She's learning so much and becoming more independent. My baby girl is growing up! I'm managing it all fairly well. Michael helps me get them packed up in the late morning and then I drive to my mom's house. Kierra gets on the bus there and I wait there with Ali and Angie until Kierra gets off the bus around 4:30. It works well, but it is a bit annoying that I'm not home during the day to get stuff done. I often bring my schoolwork with me.

Which is the other bit of news...I'm back in school. I'm working on a technical diploma in the web developer field. I've always loved graphic arts, so I thought website design would be an easy way for me to get into that. And it also might be something I can do on the side for extra money from home. I'm also currently taking a medical terminology class to hopefully help my chances of eventually being hired into the healthcare field. I haven't forgotten my dream of working in medical art therapy. I've just prolonged it for a bit. ;)

I'm loving school so far, but it does take more time away from everything else I have going on, even if I'm only going part-time. I'm still finding bits of time here and there to do other things. I started a novel. I'm blogging about that to a select group of people right now. I also just started a "sister" blog to this one at I wanted to post about local things, but also about my new fascination with Bento. I wanted to keep this blog more about my personal life, so I created the new blog for my new ideas. Yes, I realize I probably have bitten off way more than I can chew. We'll see how it goes for now.

Another very important, but also very sad, thing that happened since my last post is we lost my dear nephews, Collin and Alex. My sister had to have a c-section at only 24 weeks because she developed HELLP. The little angels put up a huge fight, living 9 (Alex) and 20 days (Collin). They were so tiny but also so gorgeous. It is unbelievable how those tiny little boys, in our lives for such a short time, could impact us so greatly. I think about them and miss them often. I'm sure my dad is watching over them for us now.

So, I'm very sorry I've been away for so long and hope anyone still reading this could find it in their hearts to forgive me. ;) I'm hoping to be better about writing again now.

The Winds are Changing

Good luck has come my way. I hate to jinx things, but I wonder how long it will last. For now, I need to just enjoy it.

I got the job! I will officially be working from home starting July 12th. I don't have words to describe how ecstatic I am! It's been so hard the last year. I've felt like such a failure being unable to help provide financially for my family.

The part that gives me pause and makes me worry about my luck changing again is that it is a temporary position until September or so. The silver lining is that if my ratings are good, I could be offered year-round work, or at the very least could start up again in January when their season picks up again. If nothing else, it will provide me with more recent work experience that could help me in the job hunt.

This couldn't have come at a better time. I've been slipping into a darker place recently (one reason I haven't blogged in awhile!) and really needed things to change. Now I just have to pray that things continue to improve!

I'm most happy that we can be a bit financially secure right now, and am hoping I keep the job so that continues. I feel horrible that we can't provide the things that I would like to provide for our children.

Speaking of the children, Kierra said something to my husband the other day that totally made me stop and marvel at her. My husband and the kids were waiting in the car for me. Kierra tells him that she wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She has said this a lot in the past. So he asked her why. In the past she's said because she wants to "feel people better." Sounds goofy, but the sentiment is beautiful. This time she says, "So I can fix Mommy so that she can run with me." I'm tearing up just typing that out even! She's always had something special to her. Not to push my other kids to the side since I know they have their own special gifts as well; but she's always had this wise-beyond-her-years understanding of people and genuine empathy. I've always felt that she was a healer, like me. Of course I won't push her to do that with her life if she doesn't choose it, but I will support what she wants to do. And I really would not be surprised if she wants to become a doctor.

This whole discussion reminds me of something I considered doing with her. This has pushed me further to the side of wanting to do it. I found Reiki healing classes for kids, but she has to be a bit older yet. I'm sure many will think I'm crazy for believing in that "made-up stuff," but I have seen energy healing firsthand and have been told that I am an energy healer if I ever would open myself up to it. I want classes for myself as well; but I do think Kierra has some amazing gifts as well.

Busy Summer

I've been meaning to get on here, but it's always one thing or another keeping me busy. Summer tends to be like that. ;)

This post will have to be a bit brief since it's late and I want to get a shower in before bed yet as well. That's one thing I miss from before kids - being able to shower whenever I wanted!

I might have a job offer tomorrow. I'm supposed to be getting a call letting me know if I got it or not. It's a work at home position! The bad news is it's seasonal and ends in September. The silver lining is that if I am a good worker, they might extend me a long term, year-round position. I'm hoping tomorrow brings good news!

The baby of the family will be walking soon, I think. Bittersweet...sigh. She's 10 1/2 months and today she pulled herself to standing and then let go and stood for a good 15 seconds before plopping back down.

Her sisters are doing well. I have more to say on them, but I really must shower! I will come back tomorrow with the job news (hopefully good!) and write more about the kids then.

Free Book Giveaway Winner!

The winner, randomly chosen, for the free copy of The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews is Sarah! I will contact you, Sarah, through email so that I can mail you your free copy! :)

If anyone loves to read, I highly recommend checking out Book Sneeze. They were the suppliers of these books. In return for me providing reviews, they send me free books and sometimes a book to give away as well. I just received my second book, Mystically Wired by Ken Wilson, from them. I will review it here when I am finished reading it. No book giveaway this time, but I am very excited to get to reading it so I can share the review.

Free Bowling for the Kids!

Great idea to help with those bored kids this summer! Free bowling! Go to this site:
You can search for participating centers at the website. If there is one near where you live, you can sign up and put in any children under 18. Each week, you will receive coupons for free bowling for the children. The coupons are good for the bowling only - shoe rental is a separate cost. Some centers will let you buy season shoe rental passes for a reasonable price. My local center charges $2.00 per rental, or $20.00 for a season pass. If we would go 10 times, the pass paid for itself and any visit after that would be "free" shoe rental! They also offer a family season pass for $24.95. This pass is good for the adults in the family and will allow you to bowl whenever your kids use their coupons. For families who love to bowl, this is a great deal! For everyone else that just would like something to do with the kids here and there, the free bowling coupons are still a great deal too! That's what we did, and can't wait to use them!

Be sure to check your local centers' available bowling times and any other rules they may have. My local center started the free bowling program in April already, and it goes until September.

Also, you can add Kids Bowl Free on Facebook for additional giveaways: Kids Bowl Free.

Finally, for anyone local, Lighthouse in West Bend participates in this program. I also just received their summer schedule from them. It looks like they have some fun things planned for the kids for this summer. I was most interested in their Thursday preschool program for kids age 3-6. For $7 a week, the kids can bowl, make a craft, and do other activities. We may have to check that out as well! You can find the Lighthouse Entertainment Center's website here.

The Challenging Month of May

May has been quite the month. It always seems to be. There's so many good things that happen (Kierra's birthday being one), but then there's also often trials we encounter, and of course the reminder of pains that we endured in the past.

The irony that this all occurs in the month of May does not escape me. Spring is supposed to be the time of new beginnings, right? Yet the month seems to always be a time of new beginnings, sometimes endings, and then reflections on the past. I'm often left in a strange mood like I am today. It's hard to put it fully in words. I'm sort of melancholy, but also there is hope and excitement underlying somewhere in there. I tend to withdraw a bit. My communication with other people tends to become more superficial if I even do communicate with anyone outside the immediate family. This year, I was trying to change that with this blog. I wanted to try to get those emotions out that are often very difficult for me to verbally express.

I don't even know if I'm making much sense. I feel like I'm rambling. I apologize for that! ;)

I'm left thinking of all those big questions that we often don't really want to think about. I even worry I have become a bit death-obsessed lately. It happened the first time when my dad died. I was always worried if someone took longer coming home than usual. I've gotten a lot better over the years, but I feel those fears creeping up on me again. I worry about something happening to me. I don't feel ready to go anytime soon, but yet I worry that it might happen. And then I worry what that might do to my family. My fears next center on my husband. What if something happened to him? I go through every member of my family, until I realize how morbid my thoughts are and force myself to do something else to get my mind off of it.

Soon we will be into summer and all the events that come with it. I'm sure I'll get busy and most of these morbid thoughts will fade away again. Or maybe not? This year seems to be a big one of change. I don't know yet if the overall change will be for the better or for the worse yet, though. Guess I'll just have to try to hang on to every shred of optimism that I have left.

I wanted to write more, and am hoping what I wrote even makes sense, but I have to go take care of the kids now. I guess I will leave this here for now, and concentrate on the treasures in my life for now. :)