Taratories Blog

Stuff the Bus

This week I helped our church create a bus for our annual "Stuff the Bus" school supply and sports equipment collection. My church, Grace Church of Bath, Ohio, joins with our urban partners in helping the kids they serve head back to school fully equipped with school supplies and sports equipment.  It is a great way to make a tangible difference for inner-city kids and it was great to be a small part of making that happen.  We already had a painted wooden cut out for the front of the bus which was used last year.  This year we decided to make the body of the bus to have somewhere to put the items into.  I worked with a couple of other people to make this happen in a couple hours one evening and it went so smoothly!  We arrived at the church with some boxes, paint and some yellow poster board.  We hadn't planned out how this was all going to come together before we got there, but between the three of us it all came together like clockwork!  After formulating a plan, one person spray painted the bottoms of the boxes black to create the look of a dusty road, the other person helped attach yellow posterboard to the boxes and blue paper to the posterboard to make windows.  I painted the whole time creating the bumpers, wheels, and edges to windows, etc. which was so fun for me.  I love projects where I get to do the "cherry on the top" parts!


The kids had a lot of fun playing in the boxes while we worked and tried out riding the bus when we were finished!  

Here is my little guy with the bus this morning at church.  I'm thinking this would be a good prop for a play or something some day!  I think it was a creative, yet functional, way to collect supplies and I can't wait to see how full this bus gets as it is stuffed with peoples generosity.

"Stacking" with Cardboard

This week in my homeschool art class we are studying the artist Grandma Moses.  I love that she started painting at the age of 78.  It's never too late to start painting!  Her primitive folk paintings were done on cardboard and she painted rural scenes from her memories of her life growing up.  I decided to let the students paint their own winter landscape in Grandma Moses style and I thought it would be cool to let them paint them on cardboard just as she did herself.

I picked up some large pieces of cardboard from our local Pier One (tip: when shipping large pictures in the mail they are the perfect place to get boxes from).  I had to cut 16 pieces out of the cardboard with a knife for my two classes before I primed each one of them to get them ready to be painted on.  

As I was cutting the cardboard, I thought my son Sawyer would enjoy using the leftovers as a play house to cure his cabin fever.  I strategically cut the rectangles out where I thought he would enjoy having some windows, etc.

Of course he wanted to paint his house with his favorite color as I was continuing to cut out cardboard.

My good friend, Megan, once shared a story with me about a time when she was making guacamole in the kitchen while her kids were playing outside in the beautiful sunshine.  Instead of working alone while her kids fended for themselves, she decided to take the guacamole outside and work on it on their picnic table.  In no time she had her kids and neighbor kids surrounding her at the table chopping and dicing and mixing as they helped her make the guacamole.  Not only were the kids learning how to make some delicious food, they were spending time with their mom, learning how to measure ingredients using math, and also exposing their neighbor friends to something that they had never experienced before.  Megan was able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine, be with her children, and educate them at the same time all the while reaching out to some neighbors.  She explained to me that this was her idea of "stacking" in life.  Instead of doing one task at a time, stacking one task on top of another experience, on top of another mission, etc. to create margins elsewhere.

Cutting cardboard this week ended up to be a "stacking" experience.  Instead of fending off my son to stay away from the knife and shooing him into the next room to fend for himself,  I was able to enjoy watching my son get creative and have fun with his imagination, let him experience something he had never experienced before, recycle scraps into a play toy, and accomplish a task that I needed to get done for my art class.  With long "to do" lists and little margins in life, its great to "stack" things and make more time for hanging out with your kids in cardboard houses!

Anthropologie Holiday Window Display

Yesterday I spent the afternoon helping Anthropologie with their holiday window display that will be installed some time next month.  Right now the front window is looking very "fall", which will all change soon!  Due to the detail of the amazing window displays in Anthropologie, at times it takes a crew of people to come together to pull it off.

The display coordinator constructed this swan out of wood, cardboard, chicken wire, and crepe paper.  I think this guy is adorable and he will be featured in the holiday window with a wreath that will surround him.  One of the tasks at hand was cutting a TON of cardboard shapes that will come together to form the wreath.  

After that, we painted the cut out foliage with different shades of green paint.  This part was welcomed, because my fingers were really feeling it from using the scissors so long!

I can't wait to see all the pieces come together and to see the swan in his full glory in the window!!