Change is constant and good and can’t be fought against anyway, so when possible, I try to enjoy it for its slippery ways. I know that the summer always brings a different pace and cadence to my life. Mostly, I really love the change, and I can imagine what it would be like to live a less complicated life in general. The kids are home and now is my chance to actually do things with them that seem unattainable during the busy school year- though it seems to be at the expense of securing freelance jobs that are quite beholden to paying the monthly bills, alas. So here I am writing about embracing the change of pace, so I can smile about it. Sometimes I need to just talk myself up a little.
Every year my close group of friends get together over beers in February and plan our “Socialist Friend Camp” (that’s our name, but the kids actually just call it ‘friend camp’) – one of the shining stars of the summer. I am fortunate to have a clutch of freelancing/professorial/consultant folks in my world who basically work from home like me and though every one of us is happy to have the kids mooching around, we also have to meet our deadlines. This is one way we have managed to work it out on the cheap – and it is enviable, I must brag. Some years it has run for 5 weeks (those were the enviable days, actually) but this year we have only managed to organize one, and so, we camped it all day and then had dinner together every night (we’ve got to get bang for our buck – or trade, rather).
When we have the crew at our house – 9 kids this time – I feel like I can give myself over to them entirely . I love these kids and have watched them grow up so it practically runs itself. I really appreciate the feeling of being able to just be with them without distraction. And, of course, we have two twelve year olds that are on hand for extra help. They spend the day on the trampoline, playing board games, eating, swimming in our wonky above ground pool, eating more, and making stuff. Here is a look at our day.
I started the day with four girls picking raspberries that we then baked into a cake. They measured and stirred and smelled the vanilla and it was great. The cake was great too!
Then, the craft!
This is a craft loving crew and everyone is game to learn new things (and sort of expect new things, I think). Well, I have recently learned how to do image transfers with packing tape, thanks to the amazing Courtney Cerutti workshop on Creativebug. If you have never been to Creativebug and you like to learn how to make this craft and others like it, then go and check it out. They are a new site offering the most awesome and beautifully produced online video art and craft workshops. For $25/month, you can take as many as you want and at any time of day (or night) – from sewing to book making to knitting to jewelry making. Did I mention how awesome it is? Well…
The kids were completely addicted to what they called “sticker making”. With this simple process, you can transfer any image you find in a magazine onto packing tape. There are tons of ways to apply what you’ve transferred. You most likely have everything you need already at home too, so it is CHEAP!
This is an image my daughter pulled from a New Yorker Magazine.
It is transparent like you’d expect a piece of tape to be, so whatever is behind the strip when you apply it will show through. Imagine the possibilities!
Even the littlest of littles can do this!
Like I said, everyone was addicted to the process of making the image transfers, so most didn’t get to applying them. They could be used to decorate a journal cover, on a gift, as part of a collage, and would be a great addition to artist’s trading cards (last year’s summer camp addiction). Because they are transparent, you can layer images – how about some clouds over a landscape drawing? See what I mean?
I like to hold onto the image of 9 boys and girls of varied ages making stuff on my back patio. They were engaged and happy and creative. It is beautiful illustration of slowing down and what providing space for creativity can be. Of course, this goes for us adults too, though I know as well as anyone that it is hard to find that time. I also know that finding that time can be life altering so it often gets carved out of the wee hours. Those hours are nice and quiet, what with all those sleeping people.
– Nicole Blum