Monday, February 23, 2015

Artist of the Week Wrap-Up: Keith Haring

I'm making an early post for the wrap-up this week since Wednesday's class currently has FOUR openings. The kids today had a great time making life size Haring-inspired "portraits". We had to spread out of the classroom into the kitchen and front hall to have the space needed for these creations. There was a lot of cooperation as everyone helped measure, cut, gather rocks to hold down the corners, outline and then move the giant wet paintings to the basement for more drying time.

Sign up by 6:00 pm Tuesday, February 24th to get into Wednesday's class!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Artist of the Week: Keith Haring - February 23rd & 25th

For the week of February 23rd, the Artist of the Week is Keith Haring, an American artist and social activist. Students will learn about his life, art techniques and the time and culture in which he lived.

Monday, February 23rd, 2:30 to 3:50  - FULL
Wednesday, February 25th, 2:30 to 3:50 - FOUR spaces available

Students will learn about art for social awareness and then make life-size Haring-style wall "graffiti".

To register for this or any of my other winter semester classes, visit

Spring semester enrolling now! Signup here:

For more information on terms and policies, visit

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

TBR Pile Challenge: Throne of Glass Read Along - Second Discussion

I actually finished this book in time (by January 31st) but I got busy and didn't get this post written. Oops. I've finished several books in the meantime so hopefully I haven't forgotten too much. I will endeavor to get my thoughts "on paper" more quickly in the future.

1) Celaena receives help from many sources throughout the novel. Of all these character, who do you think helped her the most? What does he/she do or teach Celaena that further develops her as a character?

Nehemia. She helps Calaena learn how to trust and how to be a friend.

2) Who do you think is Celaena was before Arobynn found her?

An incredibly scared little girl. I don't think she was anything more than that. (I have NOT read the novellas.)

3) Are there any aspects of Throne of Glass that you wished Sarah had gone into more detail about?

The "other" world and the magic... maybe more about how Cain came to have so much power and knowledge. It's obvious the king has something to do with it but it felt like she left out a  LOT in order to keep the way clear for the next book(s).

4) What are your thoughts about the kinda love-triangle? Are you favoring Dorian, Chaol, or is it too soon to tell where you loyalty lies?

Ugh... the love triangle thing again. I don't know. They both have their strong points and their weak points. I honestly have no idea. It's already breaking my heart that one of them is going to have his heart broken.

5) What do you think of Nox now? Do you think he'll come back into play later? And are you hoping for it? (Andrea's Note: I AM!)

I didn't think much of him before and I don't think I think of him much more now. I certainly hope she brings him back as she spent just enough time developing him that it seems a waste not to have him come back into play again.

6) Who's your favorite character so far? Do you imagine this could change throughout the series?

Chaol. He's such a quintessential good guy. I suppose that could change if his character is revealed to be vastly different.

7) How surprised were you by who was behind the Champion murders? Did you guess before it was revealed?

I had guessed it had something to do with Dorian's dogs... so I guess I was onto something with the whole animal thing. Maas gave it away some in the scene where Cain ran past Celaena acting a bit deranged and she made a mental note that he seemed to be getting bigger and faster each week.

8) What do you think of Nehemia NOW? And her friendship with Celaena?

Nehemia is a wonderful character. I never doubted her though I could see where Celaena's suspicions came from.

9) How satisfied were you with the story as a whole? Do you plan to continue the series?

I enjoyed it and I would certainly like some answers to the plethora of unanswered questions... and some closure to the many plot threads laid out before the reader. I have The Assassin's Blade right now so I'm currently planning to read the "before". Not sure if I'll make it to the after given the GIANT pile of books I have to read. If there's going to be more magic, I would be more inclined to read more since magic/fantasy is my favorite genre.

10) Do you have any predictions as to what may happen next? (If you've already read the next book/s, you should probably sit this question out.)

Good wins and Celaena marries Chaol, Dorian or Nox. :-) In other words, I don't have any definite predictions.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

I Mustache You a Question...

Make your very own Mustache Valentine using PicMonkey online photo editor.

Step One: make or buy a mustache. We made ours out of black, sticky-back felt. This was TERRIBLE on my scissors, but was relatively cheap and easy to do.

Step Two: have a photo shoot.

Go ahead and include the little sister while you are at it. 

Step Three: pick your favorite picture and head to Hover over the "Design" button and select the custom size. Enter 1800 x 1200 for printing to a 4x6 print. If you accidentally click the button without hovering first and selecting custom size, select "Resize" in the options on the left of the new screen to change the size to 1800 x 1200.

Step Four: click Canvas Color and select the background color you want. 

Step Five: click Overlay in the far left menu (a butterfly icon). Click "Your Own" in the 2nd column menu and upload the picture you chose. Drag and the drop the image where you want it, resizing by dragging the corner or sides of the image as needed. 

Step Six: if you want to add a frame, click Frames in the far left menu (a little frame icon). Select the frame you want. 

Step Seven: click Text on the far left menu (a Tt icon). Choose your starting font. You can select the ones that PicMonkey provides or the fonts already on your computer. Type your text in the text box then resize the box as needed. You can highlight then change text color or font type as you wish.  For the heart symbol ♥, you can use Alt code 3 (press and hold the Alt button, then the "3" button, release together).   

Step Eight: Save your creation somewhere you can find it on your computer. Send it to your favorite photo lab for 4x6 prints. You can regularly find 4x6 prints for $.19 each and often can find deals for them cheaper. Tada! Easy peasy, fun Valentine. If you are feeling REALLY spunky, you can attach a fake mustache to each. 

From the MUCH younger kids you see in those pictures, we made these a few years ago. It's still one of our favorite Valentines. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Review: Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

Ordinary Grace
Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

“That was it. That was all of it. A grace so ordinary there was no reason at all to remember it. Yet I have never across the forty years since it was spoken forgotten a single word.” Ordinary Grace follows the lives of two young boys in small town Minnesota the summer of 1961. Death comes often that summer and Frank and Jake find themselves more and more thrust into a grown-up world as they navigate the dynamics of their family and their town.

My favorite book is To Kill a Mockingbird. In the sense that this book also focused on the kids' perspective in a small town in a "simpler" time, Ordinary Grace reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird. I'm sure my enjoyment of Ordinary Grace benefited from my love of the Harper Lee classic. This book was, though, at it's core, a who-dun-it - an enjoyable one at that. Some "conclusions" were pretty obvious from the start but many twists and turns took you by surprise.

The father, Nathan, was an almost unbelievably gracious and forgiving man, while the mother, Ruth, played foil with great emotional instability. Probably my favorite character was Gus, a friend of Nathan's from the war, who was constantly a rock upon which the boys could lean and a lighthouse in the dark to help Frank and Jake navigate tough issues. Yet, he was flawed in very real, authentic ways.

The one distraction for me was the layout of the town. I don't think the author used a real town or a map of his imaginary town or he was bad at describing directions of things. Many times I found myself "lost" in town (no, the trestle is the OTHER WAY!). Or a description that something was past of the edge of town, with a real sense that it was far away - tucked away on purpose - but then it was only a 5 minute car ride later on. Or a bike ride in the middle of the night from the poor part of town to WAY up in the high rent area - again, earlier depicted as far away - that takes very little time. Given how I mentally "Google map" the books I read, these discrepancies were jarringly noteworthy as I read.

All and all, an engaging read. This was a book club selection for me and not something I would have likely picked up on my own.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Artist of the Week: Georgia O'Keefe - February 2nd & 4th

For the week of February 2nd, the Artist of the Week is Georgia O'Keefe, an American artist best known for her large-format paintings of flower blossoms. Students will learn about her life, art techniques and the time and culture in which she lived. Students will then have the chance to try out some of the  art techniques of O'Keefe.

Monday, February 2nd, 2:30 to 3:50  - FULL
Wednesday, February 4th, 2:30 to 3:50 - FOUR spaces available

Students will use bright colors to create their own O'Keefe-inspired close-up floral print, then learn some basic drawing techniques to make a bull skull painting with Texas-influenced backgrounds. 

NOTE ON AGE RECOMMENDATIONS: My Age 6 - 9 classes are full with a waiting list for the semester and the age 10+ classes are empty. I am changing all my art classes to ages 6 - 10. The Monday and Wednesday classes will be the same curriculum as a result. As always, age limits are guidelines. You know your children better than I do. Focused five year olds are welcome as are pre-teens who want to learn and don't mind a class full of "little kids".

To register for this or any of my other classes, visit

For more information on terms and policies, visit