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Abacus “Spectrum” Round Up

And there it goes, March is ending already. Spring is here!

I have found doing these round-up posts really helpful for me. It’s funny how I will feel so behind and like we haven’t “done” anything. But then, as I start to compile images from the month, it amazes me just how much we managed to pack in. I’ve found it to be such a nice way of keeping track of our days. I highly recommend it 🙂 The theme for this month’s Abacus project was “Spectrum” (ABACUS is our creative home curriculum centered on a theme). I am excited to share where we have been going with it!  To see the whole list of projects we came up with (and resources) check out our original post, here.  It’s been a March full of color.

Lots of rainbow drawing and experiments with color (Hattie (3) jumped fully into being an artist herself this month, rather than just observing):
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Beatrice and I happened on a Marble factory with glass blowing demonstrations near Kansas City, called Moon Marble Company. We of course had to bring a few home with us. Each one is such a tiny world of light and color.
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We started seeds indoors – mini red bell peppers and more (all from the glorious Baker Creek Seed Company). They are enjoying the sunshine of our window seat. All of now come up!

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The city of Greeley is doing a whole lot of awesome lego themed events in anticipation of “Build Frontiers” coming to the Greeley history museum in June. We can’t wait! This week we went to a lego event at the library and also a whole art show of lego builds (Amazing rainbow lego tree house was made by the lovely Natalie Mash – part of the lego show at the Tointon Gallery).
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We had a very “iridescent” morning making black rainbow paper (super fun, just need clear nail polish and black paper!) and giant bubbles. Thank goodness for sunshiny days.
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Speaking of colors, we painted our very dark living room a lovely fresh shade of light blueish gray. “After” pictures still coming.
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And, of course, sorted all the “things” by color. (I found these spools at a thrift store, does anyone know what they are for?)
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We played with lots of colorful musical notes.
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We harnessed the power of the sun to create Inkodye animal t-shirts.  More of these coming soon! I “might” have gotten so excited about this amazing new product that I bought all the colors…I actually have some SA-WEET zippered pouches in the works to sale here.
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The girls watched Wizard of Oz for the first time ever, and of course loved it. There were lots of discussions about future halloween costumes and who gets to be which character. Apparently I am the witch. Hmmmm….
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We ate the color spectrum for lunch one day.
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We also made these “favorite color” freezer paper shirts.
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Artist Kelly Cook and I completed our Spectrum themed sketchbook for The Sketchbook Project
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Harriet and I had a marvelous time one day making homemade play dough (my mom’s special recipe – which I will post someday) which we used to make rainbow cupcakes
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We played with prisms and sunshine.
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And finally, we whipped up a batch of Rainbow foam and had a “bike car wash”

That’s all folks! April’s theme is coming on Thursday!

If you want more info about this whole Abacus project, start here.

To jump in and connect with other families and share what you are working on, join our Abacus facebook group.

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Sketchbook Project “Spectrum” Collaboration

This moleskin sketchbook was filled up in a color spectrum as a collaboration between Kelly Cook and me. She gave me the book as a Christmas present. We passed it back and forth between us, each adding bits and pieces. We gave each page a loose color theme. It was a fun venue to just experiment and play without worrying about the end result. The book was created to be part of The Sketchbook Project, a crowd-sourced library that features thousands of artists’ books contributed by creative people from all around the world. I am mailing it off tomorrow!

See more of Kelly’s art and process here.

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Sketchbook Project “Spectrum” – Kelly Cook & Betony Coons Collaboration from Tim Coons on Vimeo.

 

Saint Patricks Day Playlist: So Much GREEN

Last March Tim gathered a list of favorite St. Patties day songs from friends on our facebook page. Here is the entire compilation in its fullness. It is definitely worth a listen on this under-celebrated holiday of greenness.

1. Whiskey in The Jar – The Dubliners
2. I’ll Tell Me Ma – The Chieftains
3. The State of Massachusetts – Dropkick Murpheys
4. The Wild Rover – The Dubliners
5. Star of The County Down – The High Kings
6. Star of The County Down – The Irish Rovers
7. The Foggy Dew – The Clancy Brothers
8. A Parting Glass – Glen Hansard
9. Galway Girl – Mundy
10. Dancing at the Crossroads – The Crossing
11. The Parting Glass- The Clancy Brothers
12. Bold Riley – The Wailin’ Jennys
13. The Kesh Jig – The Bothy Band
14. The Wind that Shakes the Barley – Solas
15. The Foggy Dew – The Chieftains
16. The Rocky Road to Dublin – The Dubliners
17. Cardinal Knowledge – Kila
18. The Rising of the Moon – The High Kings
19. Whiskey Your the Devil – Morgenrot World Music
20. The Juice of the barley – The Clancy Brothers
21. Highlander’s Farewell to Ireland – Alasdair Fraser
22. Two Jigs – Tommy Peoples
23. Psalm 23 – Eden’s Bridge
24. Maudabawn Chapel – Martin Byrnes
25. Music for a Found Harmonium – Patrick Street
26.The Rocky Road to Dublin – The High Kings
27. The Valley of Strathmore – Silly Wizard
28. When Irish Eyes are Smiling – The Irish Tenors
29 Who Threw the Overalls in Mrs. – The Limerick Rovers
30. Whiskey in the Jar – Waxies Dargle
31. The Wild Rover – The Blarney Lads
32. The Foggy Dew – The Dublin Ramblers
33. Black Velvet Band – the Kilkenny Brothers
34. Ramblin Irishmen – Spailpin
35. Mountain Dew – The Blarney Lads

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“Spectrum” Favorite Color Shirts DIY

This project is part of our March Abacus “Spectrum” theme. We spent the last week in KS hanging out with grandparents and my sister and her family from Canada, she has 3 kids ages 6,3, and 1. I wanted to do a simple but fun project that all the kids could do together and that could be a little keepsake from the week as well. We came up with these freezer paper “Favorite Color” shirts inspired by paint swatches.

Supplies Needed:

Freezer paper – looks like this:
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Brush-able fabric paint (just not the puffy paint kind)
An Iron
Paint brushes
Water
Blank Shirts (or tote bags, hoodies, etc..)
An Exacto Knife
A scrap of cardboard slightly smaller than the shirt

1. Cut a simple stencil out of the freezer paper. You will need one for each shirt you are making. I traced my iphone case 3 times. Use the exacto to cut out the shapes.

2. Put a piece of cardboard inside the shirt to keep the paint from soaking through to the backside.

3. Iron the freezer paper stencil to the shirt (plastic side down so it adheres)
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4. Have kiddos pick out favorite colors. This is a great time to learn about color mixing too.
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5. Squeeze a small amount of paint onto a paper plate and paint in the rectangles. I folded the excess shirt under to keep stray paint off it (but we are also talking about 3 year olds here…). 
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6. Paint each rectangle a different color. I went in at the end and made sure they had each filled the whole shape. (don’t mind the shirtless-ness, just trying to keep the paint off their other clothes 🙂

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7. Let the paint fully dry. If you are impatient like we were, break out a hair dryer to speed things along.

8. Once the paint is fully dry, peel off the stencil! All done!

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9. Wait 24 hours before washing and then just wash as normal. Probably isn’t a bad idea to heat set the paint with a clothes iron too.

Note: I thought it would be cute to write their name/age + “favorite colors” at the bottom in small letters, but we didn’t.

This obviously does not have to be a kid only project. I kind of want one for myself too…

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Documenting the Creative Process: a Weekly Photo Series

We are excited to start a new series of posts on this site dealing with our creative process. These will mostly be pictures of tidbits; the art we are creating in our family. I love seeing other people’s process in their work, so we’re sharing this, a few times a month, here this season!

This will also be our way of taking a bird’s eye view of the fields we’re involved in… It’s easy to feel scattered and lose sight of the what’s being made in all the messes. We’ll be able to post these pictures and say, “Hey, we ARE doing stuff! The process is slow, but good!” I’m sure MANY of you relate.

Here’s what we’ve been up to:

Laying out all the pieces of a new series and seeing how pieces work together.IMG_2347
Planning and dreaming about what is going to go in this space at our local library.IMG_2366

Drawing portraits of their baby sister.

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Still to be revealed, but spending lots of time on my newest children’s book project!

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Giants & Pilgrims’ New Project: “Becoming”

(Above: a piece in process from Betony titled “On Becoming an Artist”)

I’ve been surprised by something recently- I’ve been surprised that I am still growing.

Now, in all physical ways I’ve actually stopped growing. In fact, my body has peaked and I am really in the process of dying. I am no longer a youth heading to adulthood.

But you understand what I mean. I’m still growing: as a human being. I feel like I’m in this deep process of “becoming” the person I’m longing to be. Is it strange to be surprised by that?

I had the understanding, since I was young, that one day I would grow up. That I would be a wise (and, of course, boring) adult. That was the arrival point- to become a static human with a family and a job and a spouse, contributing to the civilized world.

Here’s where I’m surprised, and delightfully so. None of us are static. We are SO dynamic. In my family, in my wisdom, in my work, in my soul, I am still growing and reaching and enriching and stretching.. and becoming. We are always growing IN to these things, not UP to a stopping place. I find such comfort in that: there is no arrival point for the soul. Even in the deepest heavens we will always be reaching “further up and further in”, as C.S. Lewis writes when closing his Narnia series.

This view of a dynamic soul has only been compounded since being surrounded by my children. I’m captivated watching them come into personhood in such powerful ways. Not just everyday- Every moment. They are fountains and explosions of rapidly growing soul. I believe this is one of the greatest parts of parenthood. It’s a rebirth of wonder from the place of joyous spectator.

So it is from this “surprise and delight” over continued growth where Betony and my new Giants & Pilgrims project starts.

I have the beginning of an album and she has the start of a painting series. We are, together, sharing our discoveries of “becoming”. Currently I’m capturing the first recordings of songs in the basement. The lyrics and acoustic-driven arrangements are saturated with children’s toy instruments. Betony has been organizing bits and pieces of collage elements (hundreds of bits and pieces!) and has started the process of creating with them.

We’re excited to share this project with you all soon. Be looking towards the fall of this year, but that’s a loose date. We just wanted to share what all we’ve been dreaming, while the process is still fresh and crackling with formation; while it’s still becoming.

Thanks for your support and love,

Tim & Betony
Giants & Pilgrims

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Abacus: “Spectrum”

Giants and Pilgrim “Abacus” is a creative home curriculum centered on a monthly theme. This month’s theme is Spectrum!
Read all about how to use this list and our heart behind this project here.

Below is our comprehensive activities list! Choose a couple to do with your kids to enrich the month or try to accomplish the whole thing!

Also, a few March Dates to keep in mind as you are scheming fun activities-

Pi Day = March 14th (3.14…)
St. Patricks Day = Mar. 17
First day of Spring = Mar. 20th

March: Spectrum

Listen:

Ludwig Von Drake – The Spectrum Song (disney)

Red Roses for Blue Lady by Jack Morgan

Our Spectrum playlist! (coming later this month…)

This podcast on Spiral dynamics (For adults – not kids)

Movies:

Any of these films with an intensely distinctive color palette: Amelie, any Wes Anderson film, Nanny McPhee, Hero
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For St. Patricks Day:
The Secret of Roan Inish, and The Book of Kells
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The Wizard of Oz (For its transition from black and white to color)

Science:

Play with prisms

Learn about plants and how they process light

Steve Spangler St. Patrick’s Day Science Kit (we bought this a few years back and now get it out every year. It was super fun. I would highly recommend it. We are needing a few refills, but mostly it lasts quite a while)

Bees, Ultra violet and other colors off our visual spectrum – we are hoping to take a field trip out to Illuman Apiary’s bee hives if it gets warm enough.

This Cool Density “rainbow in a jar” experiment
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Take a trip to the Denver Natural History Museum – specifically to play with their infrared camera body scan
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Learn about eyes – Anatomy, Rods/Cones, etc

Adventure:

Make a Treasure Map  – Participate in our Isles of Green Adventure at the end of this month! (Here is last years)
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Books:

Adult Reads:

Red: The Red Tent by Anita Diamont

Orange: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

Yellow: The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Green: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

Blue: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Purple: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Kids:
Older kids –
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, The Giver by Louis Lowry
Younger –
Mix it Up by H. Tullet, Do You Know Colors by Katherine Howard, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? by Eric Carle, The Day the Crayons Quit by Oliver Jeffres
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Art:

Freezer paper “Favorite Color” shirts
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Paint Color wheels/Learn about color mixing/Spin art
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Find some where to do a color coded Trash art installation like this –
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Make dip dyed cloth or paper (or tie dye!)
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Make layered paper jewelry

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Garden/Outside:

Make Garden cold frames (or as I like to call them, “mini-greenhouses”)

Seed Starts
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Visit the Wichita Botanical Gardens

Play with this:
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Kitchen:

Make homemade play dough – recipe coming soon 🙂

Eat the Rainbow – this could make a fun grocery store trip that maybe helps convince my kids to try eating a few vegetables.
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Make these edible rainbows –
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Play with rainbow foam
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Sort all the things by color (oh wait, I do that already…)

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March 2015 Desktop and iPhone Wallpaper

Happy March! Here’s to the beginning of warmer days, the discovery of the first bits of green breaking out of the gray, the melting of snow, and the gentle warmth of spring sunshine. Here are some splotches of color to brighten your March work spaces. Click the small thumbnail below to download the large sized file. For the iphone wallpaper, navigate to this page on your phone and then click and hold on the iphone images. Select ‘Save image to camera roll’. Then from your camera roll set your home screen/lock screen. Enjoy!

Full Resolution Desktop image:

 

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iPhone wallpapers (pick either color):

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