Fiddlebug, Bart and Craig really want to play pirates! They decided it would be the most fun if one of them was a pirate captain who hid his treasure and then lost his map. The other two would be pirates from another ship who had found the map and needed to follow it to find the treasure chest. After a game of “Rock, Paper, Scissors”, Bart was picked to draw the map and hide the treasure. He made sure the directions led his friends the long way to the treasure chest too!
If you’re in a pirate kind of mood, you can have your own treasure hunt too! Here’s what you need to do:
What you need:
A treasure to hide
What you do:
1) Draw a map of the room or area that you are hiding your treasure in. Make sure to draw in anything that is inside the area like furniture and doors if you’re inside or trees and buildings if you are outside. (Note to big people: This is a great way to practice names for things either with writing or speech. Older younglings can practice spelling to. It’s also a nice way to practice colors for younger munchkins.)
2) Go hide your treasure somewhere in the area that you've drawn on your map.
3) Draw a dashed line from where you want your seekers to begin the treasure hunt. Make sure NOT to go straight there. Go around, under or over things. You can even put instructions to hop in place or do somersaults sometimes. Keep it interesting!
4) Send your treasure hunters out to follow your map – Just make sure you don’t give them any hints while they are looking!
All three friends told me that a great way to make sure the fun keeps going is to have each person make a map at the same time, and then take turns hiding the treasure and looking for it. That way you don’t have to take a break after each map is done to draw a new one!
I was looking over my week while enjoying my tea this morning, and I have a few dilemmas in the works. Most of the things on my list have clear cut answers and relatively defined deadlines. Unfortunately, some of those deadlines fall in the middle of the holiday chaos so my personal deadlines are much earlier than the official ones.
All of that being said, my most pressing problem is that I am down to one craft project for the blog. This creates a sort of crossroads. Granted, I have been recycling these crafts for a while and could use some fresh ones to share with you but it also makes me have to look at how many people may actually be enjoying the weekly craft idea. Would adding new ones benefit anyone or would doing so simply be my own busy work? If I do not continue the crafts, should I continue the blog? Again, how many people benefit and is there a chance that more will if I keep plugging away? The movie Field of Dreams said that "If you build it, they will come." I think that is a lovely thought, but it doesn't have much to do with most realities. In the end, the big question is: Is this the best use of my time in the pursuit of my happiness and writing goals. I have a week to decide.
Your input would greatly help. For me, the reality of blogging is a lot like writing in a diary or talking to myself. There is not a great deal of interaction. I'm not trying to force people to participate but I am great at talking to myself throughout the day without the blog. If my thoughts help others, I am glad to share them. If they simply sit here I believe I would be better using this writing time on a project instead of the blog.
Any and all opinions are appreciated. As will all things, if your voice is not heard on this matter, yours becomes the popular vote. Not to be overly dramatic but silence is an awfully loud voice encouraging the end of this blog.
Spring is an exciting time of year for anyone who likes plants! Mother Dragon is definitely in that group. Once the air warmed up and her potted plants could go out to soak up the sunshine, Mother Dragon realized that some of her clay pots were looking a little plain. She asked Fiddlebug and Craig to get their sidewalk chalk and brighten them up a bit. Everyone had fun being out in the sunshine and Mother Dragon got the added bonus of having one-of-a-kind containers for some of her herbs!
What you need:
As many clay pots as you would like, any size, any shape will do!
Sidewalk chalk of chalk pastels (I used pastels since their colors are brighter, and I had them handy)
What you do:
Draw any design you like on the flower pots with the chalk and color them in as you wish.
Mother Dragon wanted me to remind you that chalks wash off with rain. You can preserve them longer with a coat of clear gloss spray paint, or you can use a spring shower as a great reason to spend the next clear afternoon in the sunshine creating new works of art to display!
I admit that I've been a little twitchy lately. November seems to be a month full of "hurry up and wait" with a liberal dash of "let's reschedule". Mostly what this means is that I have a lot of loose ends dangling. Weaving them back into the fabric of my day means that I need to know what my job is in each situation. This is not always as easy as it sounds. Some things require immediate action and others require time. Knowing the difference is important but not always easy. When is nudging required and when is it nagging? If you don't get it right, you risk missed opportunities and hurt feelings. The oncoming holiday season does not help this situation at all. Everyone, including me, is distracted. Sometimes I think that we should all just hibernate from new endeavors beginning in late October until mid-January. Unfortunately, we can't, so it's time to figure out what I need to have patience with and what I need to stop procrastinating. Here's my plan:
Have Patience if...
... I was the last individual to make contact and it has been less than two weeks but does not require an answer before Nov. 15th.
... I need to have confidence that others will do their part without a nudge. Micromanaging is bad.
... the activity/event/subject does not actually need to be addressed before January 15th.
Stop Procrastinating if...
... I have something that requires action before Nov. 15th.
... I am the only one who can influence the situation at this point in time.
... It is important to have plans in place before January 15th.
That sounds simple enough, doesn't it? Unfortunately, few things are as simple as they look. Wish me luck! While you are at it, please share your ideas/advice for knowing when to push forward and when to wait.
Father Dragon sometimes takes Fiddlebug with him to the clearing where he works as Forest Advisor for all of the creatures living in the area. It’s very important work, and Father Dragon knows that a good snack helps him think more clearly and give out better advice, so he makes sure to whip up a nice frozen fruit and yogurt smoothie to share with his little dragon at snack time. Here is Father Dragon’s recipe so you and your big person can make some of your own:
What you need:
2 cups of your favorite frozen fruit (I used peaches, strawberries and blueberries)
1 cup yogurt (I used vanilla)
½ cup milk (I used almond milk, but you can use soy, cow’s milk, goat’s milk, half and half, etc.)
¼ cup really hot water
You and your big person’s favorite cups and a couple of straws
What you do:
Add all ingredients to the blender. I found that adding the frozen fruit first and the hot water second seems to help everything blend better, but there’s no real order necessary. Blend at low speed until all the big chunks are gone – you may need a spoon to stir it up from time to time, just make sure the blender is off while you stir. Blend at medium speed until smooth and well mixed. Pour into your favorite cups and enjoy!
Father Dragon said that you can add sweetener if you need to. He prefers honey which he just adds right into the blender with everything else if the fruit isn’t sweet enough. If he’s at home, sometimes Father Dragon even adds whipped cream and sprinkles on top for a special treat!
There are two things you should know before you read this post. One is that when I was a kid I spent a LOT of time with crayons in my hands. The second is that there was a very large span of time when I avoided art or threw my brushes when I painted. These are both important for the following message.
Dear Teenager (pre-teen and/or adults where applicable),
I am writing to you today about something that is near and dear and dangerously misunderstood. Stop fidgeting, we haven't gotten to the uncomfortable part yet. Today's topic is Art. You know, that thing that you love but that you think you are horrible at doing? That thing that feels wild and toothy and incredibly free when you let it out. That thing that everyone else thinks is "just a hobby" or "just for fun". That thing that you love so much that you are afraid to show anyone because deep down in your gut you realize it is a piece of you and you are afraid that whoever sees it will think it looks funny. That thing that you are trying to find a way to do while you pursue your sensible career in a field that you are pretty sure you will hate. That thing that you are already looking at how to put down because someone else convinced you that it was a waste of time. Yeah.. you know what I'm talking about, don't you? Feel free to fidget for a moment.
Here's the deal: Yes, you will probably have to have a job that puts food on your table because people are strange and will waste their money on prints of strange landscapes done by people they have never heard of in cheap frames long before they will buy your one of a kind canvas. They will hunt down "new" music by bands that they will never go see instead of coming to your gig or spreading the CD you invested all of your savings into in order to have it done professionally. They will read books by authors that they don't have to worry about meeting personally instead of telling all their friends to read the book that it took you two years to write and another 4 to have published. Whatever you invented, someone will spend more money on a million other gadgets in order to get the same results that they could have had just by buying yours. That basket of beautiful baked goods you work on for Christmas presents? Oh, trust me. I know it will take a back seat to the frozen ice cream cake that came from a factory. This sounds harsh. It is. Reality can be that way. The thing is that none of it matters. It took me a LONG time to find that out and if you only ever listen to this one thing I pass along, I swear I'll be happy for the rest of my life. CREATE YOUR THING ANYWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Don't worry about how "good" it is. There is someone out there that is going to absolutely hate whatever it is you make. They are unimportant. You aren't creating for them. You are creating for yourself first and for that other person who lit up when they saw or heard or read your work. Sure, sales may be scarce but marketing is another beast altogether and must be dealt with separately. If you are creating solely for money, probably you are not giving your creativity the wings it really needs.
Don't try to create someone else's work. It took me 2 stinking decades to realize that I'm not ever going to be Michelangelo and to become happy about it. 20 years during which time I avoided painting simply because I have a different talent than the one I wanted. Do you have any idea what all I could have created in 20 years or how much better at my own style I would be now if I hadn't decided to fuss about what I'm not. When I think about it, I want to travel back in time and shake myself.
It is okay to not be perfect. Trust me. The world has not ended because I have smudges or typos. Better yet, guess what I do have. I have 5 published books that I wrote and illustrated. Had I waited for perfection none of them would exist. You can always go back and fix things that are there. People will forgive you your imperfections quicker than they will forgive you for your perfect moments.
Be kind to yourself. Creativity can hurt from time to time but only because it should make you grow. If it hurts all the time, you are doing it wrong. Do not EVER listen to someone who tells you that you need to suffer for your art. They are ridiculous and sad. Grow your roots strong enough to shake your head and smile your way past them.
Also, don't listen to anyone - including yourself - when they tell you that what you do is not necessary and vital. Even the cavemen took time out of their short, fear-filled lives to paint the cave walls, pass down stories, and most likely beat a rhythm that made them dance. Nothing - let me repeat that: NOTHING in our human world is here without someone creating it. Your favorite band, or that gorgeous calendar on your wall, or your chair, or that delicious pasta dish that your mom makes, all of them are art. So is the chair you are sitting on and the type you are reading right now and the computer that is displaying it for you... and even that job that you are going to have to have in order to keep the lights on.
Long and short: Embrace your personal creativity and splash it all over as much of the world as you can reach. Apply it to that job that you might not actually hate quite so much as you like to think and use your abilities to make the boring parts better. Be amazing. That is what you were created for.
Now, set aside your insecurities. Be brave for just those few minutes that it takes to get started... the rest will flow easier once you are under way. Breathe. Then create something. Anything. Trust me. It will be amazing!
Oh, and one more thing. When you notice that someone else needs this pep talk, give it to them - even when it's me.
Have a wonder filled week!
Meet Samson. Fiddlebug made him for this week’s project. Samson is a pretty special piggy. He’s great at keeping your money safe, and he looks really cute while he does it! Fiddlebug has been learning all about coins from Father Dragon. He knows that pennies are worth 1 cent, nickels are worth 5 cents, dimes are worth 10 cents and quarters are worth 25 cents. He also knows that Samson can store quite a few of each in his belly so Fiddlebug doesn’t have to worry about losing them! Fiddlebug still has a little bit of trouble adding up his savings, but having Samson store them for him lets the little dragon get plenty of practice with his new math skills!
This project will need some extra help from your big person, but in the end it will definitely be worth it! Here’s how to make your own piggy bank just like Samson:
What you need:
1 Clean Plastic Presweetened Drink Mix Container
1 Styrofoam Egg Carton
Hot Glue Gun (and a big person to use it)
Spray Paint (and a big person to use it) - optional
Felt or Colored Craft Foam – optional
1 Piece of Pipe Cleaner (about 4 inches)
Other Decorations - optional
What you do:
1) Cut two egg sections out of the egg carton.
2) Trim one of the egg sections around the open edge so it will fit against the top of the drink mix container. This will be your piggy’s snout.
3) Cut the other egg carton section in half diagonally from corner to corner to form your piggy’s ears.
4) Remove the drink mix container’s lid and put it open side down on your work surface. It should look like an upside down bowl.
5) Ask your big person to use the hot glue gun to attach the egg carton pieces. The whole egg section should be glued onto the top of the lid in the middle just below the center so you will have plenty of room above it for eyes later on. The two “ear” pieces should be centered along the outer edge at the top. Their open side should point forward, and you should be careful that the hot glue doesn’t interfere with the ability to put the lid back on the container when it is dry. You will need the lid on when you do the next step.
6) Find your egg carton again. On the lid part there should be a center ridge. Find the bumps that are in the center ridge and cut them out to make your piggy’s feet. If you have an egg carton that doesn’t have the right kind of bumps, no worries! Just cut a couple of strips of the flat lid part out. Cut the strips into same sized squares. Stack a few squares together and secure them with glue to make 4 short posts. Just make sure they are about the same height.
7) Hold the drink mix container on its side so that the piggy’s new face is positioned right. Have your big person glue 2 of the piggy’s new feet under the container part that looks like the piggy’s belly and two on the bottom of the lid edge being careful with the glue so the lid can be removed later. Ask them to be careful to get the balance right or your piggy might look like he’s trying to find something to eat!
8) Make a curly pig tail with the short piece of pipe cleaner and ask your big person to attach it with hot glue to the top of the piggy’s backside.
9) Ask your big person to cut a slot that is big enough for quarters in the piggy’s back. Fiddlebug also had Father Dragon use the tip of the hot glue gun to help bend the edges in so they weren’t sharp and were easier to put coins through.
10) If you and your big person decide it would be better to have your new piggy bank one solid color before you start decorating it, ask them to give it a coat of spray paint. Make sure to let it dry completely while you decide how to decorate!
11) Fiddlebug used white felt and colored foam pieces to make Samson’s eyes. You can do the same or just add them with paint.
12) Now for the fun part! Use your craft paint and other decorations to give your piggy bank a great personality. Fiddlebug thought Samson would look nice splotchy, but you can use handprints, or stripes, or glittery polka dots, or anything else that you can dream up!
13) When your new piggy bank is dry, it can start guarding your savings. Just remember to work on your adding skills when you put in your coins!
Being a homeschooling parent for 13 years and an independent author/illustrator makes a person learn quite a bit about a lot of things. Now it's time to pass it on!