Friday, June 7, 2013

From Last Year to This

The 2011-2012 school year was difficult beyond belief for Thing 1.  Crying herself to sleep at night.  Begging to move back to the old house.  Trying to talk us into trading back all the advantages of moving if she could just Go Home.

This year was completely different.
I attended the 5th Grade "Graduation" ceremony on Tuesday.  I know, I know, you're not really graduating in 5th grade, but in this area 6th and 7th grade are at a different school, so the kids are leaving elementary school, therefore they have a little ceremony.  
They handed out a "moving on" certificate to all the kids, then they distributed a few awards.  There were presidential awards for good grades.  There was a silver award for a GPA of 3.5-3.75 and Thing 1 got one of those.  They had some awards from the gym teacher for kids who had done so many push-ups and laps and whatever.
Then they did what they called the Citizenship Award.  Each of the four classes was asked to vote for three of their classmates on who best represented the class for honor and fairness and bravery and all around good citizeny stuff.  Three students were chosen from each class.
And Thing 1 was chosen.
I was totally floored.
She is so quiet, so reserved.  There are other kids in her class who are very dynamic and outgoing and noticeable, a couple little girls I know of who are really lovely little girls.  Of course I think Thing 1 is all those things, but I'm her mother and I'm aware there is a certain bias here and she is not very self promoting and I imagine she blends into the background a lot...  But apparently the other kids noticed her too.
It was really lovely.  There was a certificate with a little pin attached.

Then right at the end of the whole ceremony the music teacher said she had an award.  She said there has been one student all year who has helped on every promotional banner, has stepped up every time and made herself available to help at every opportunity.  She had one award to give out, and she gave it to Thing 1.  Thing 1 pretty much swept the award ceremony.

The school had a 5th Grade concert last Thursday, and Thing 1 sang a song.  When she announced that she wanted to try out for this performance because the kids could sing solos if they wanted to, her sister and I didn't know what to think.  When she announced she had passed the audition we murmured to ourselves that we weren't sure if this was a good thing or a bad thing.  In a brilliant move, Hubby found her a voice coach and I have taken her down  to the valley for voice lessons.  She's had 4 lessons, and the teacher taught her to relax and sing out and just the extra practice and singing in front of him did her a lot of good.  She did beautifully at the performance.  I had suggested she sing The Show by Lenka, which was a good choice for many reasons, except that it starts bam on the the first note.  No introduction, no preamble, the music starts and the song starts.  So it's really easy for her to get off.  And she has a hard time getting back on until there's a break in the music, and she can hear where she's supposed to be.  Sure enough for the performance she didn't come in on the right beat and was a beat behind, until the first point that the music pauses and she can catch up.  She was by no means perfect, but she hit a couple notes she usually has trouble with, and she sang out, and did really beautifully.  I was tensely watching her perform, noting every little thing she did wrong, instead of letting her wonderful performance wash over me...  I have heard her sing it enough that I don't sit and cry when I listen to her. Which is a good and a bad thing.

It has been a very good year for Thing 1.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Arts Festival May 3rd

Look how behind I am.  

The Friday after we got back from our Disney Cruise was the school's Arts Festival.   

I kind of feel responsible for part of the Arts Festival, because they changed the way they do it because of me.  One of the other mothers, who is instrumental in the Festival, was at my house last year and saw some of the pieces of art I'd purchased at our old school's Art Fair Auction.  These are pieces made by the kids, and auctioned off at the festival.  When this other mother was admiring them (as the most interesting art in our house) she was floored when I told her they were made by my daughter's class in 2nd grade (she made the bottom heart)  This piece is about eighteen inches long by about eight inches wide.

and by the 1st graders in our old school.  I am not related to any of the kids who made this piece, it was just my favorite that year.  This one is about three feet long and weighs a lot, as the clay pieces are glued onto an old piece of metal, the swirly things are welded on.

Anyway, you get the picture, they're kind of neat unusual pieces of art.

So she proposed we do collaborative projects like that for this school, and sell them at the festival, and asked if I'd help.

So this year they totally changed the way they do the festival to include these collaborative projects.  And my biggest disappointment here is that I don't have pictures of the pieces, because they were TRULY AMAZING.  In this school, instead of the Art Ladies running the whole show and picking out with the teacher a project for the class to do and making it, the parent volunteers, who run the art projects in the class every month, picked out a project for the classes to do and did them.  At our old school there was a lot of pottery, and a lot of welding.  We don't have a kiln in the school here, and no welders that I know of.  So we had to resort to other things.

I am in charge of Thing 2's art class of 4th graders, and this is what we did.
We did two copper weavings.  The kids wove copper strips and wire into a larger sheet of copper, and rubbed texture into all the copper to make it more interesting.  Then I took it over to the woman's house who first saw the art in my house and suggested we do collaborative pieces, she is a real artist, by the way, and she helped me cook it with a torch to make it have the burny patina.

I didn't get close ups... but I may provide a close up grab from my picture.

We made two weavings.  Because only a couple of kids could weave at a time, I had to come up with something for the rest of the kids to do while waiting for their turn.  So I came up with a copper rubbing idea, keeping with the copper theme.  Each kid rubbed a little five by five piece of copper.  I strung them together in sets.  There were three sets of five, and one set of three, which my artisty friend helped me distress.  That is the one I bought, which is why I got a picture of it.

I was at a friend of Thing 2's the other day and found she had bought all three of the five panel pieces, and was hanging them side by side.  I should have got a picture.  They looked great together.  We didn't distress them, just let them stay shiny coppery.

The other thing about this arts fair is that they let the kids have booths.  Normally they let local artists display their stuff for sale, but this year they opened it up to the kids, instead.  I knew Thing 1 would come up with something,  but had to help Thing 2 come up with something.

From the Epbot blog, which is one of my first go-to spots for all things interesting, I found this idea of baking baking pony beads to make little flowers.  Bingo.  Thing 2 is going to love this.
The problem with putting up a booth, is you have to have inventory.  Both girls and their mother (ME!) worked night and day for the month leading up to the cruise, and the week after, making sure there was enough inventory to sell at their art booths.  
I suggested Thing 1 start with Polymer clay necklaces.  But once she made the beads they were SUPER labor intensive for me to assemble.  Then she made a tiny little polymer clay animal.  All that was required of me was to put it on a pin and make a pendant out of it, and put the clasp on a cord or chain.  Eventually Thing 1 was even able to do most of this herself, though she never really mastered the bending of the pin to make a perfectly round bezel hook, so I did that part.
And this is the result.

 This is just a close up from the previous picture.   You can see a red flower, then a little piece of cake on the left, going right there are penguins and hedghogs and other little animals, ending with some birds.

She sold the little animals for $5, the bigger ones for $7, and some of my more complicated necklaces and earring sets for $12.  

Thing 2's inventory was a little less labor intensive, and she had more items.  

She sold these hair clip sets for $2.00, the necklace and earring sets for $3.00.   Bookmarks and magnets were a dollar a piece.

At the end of the night I was somewhat frustrated that the collaborative pieces auctioned off so low.  Those big pieces I had done, easily 2 feet by 3.5 feet of copper, went for about $50.00.  The copper alone in them was worth I don't know how much, but at least twice that.
The little pieces went for about $20 each.  The school made about $3000.00.  I wish they'd made twice that but the other art ladies were very pleased, saying it was the first year we'd done it this way, and seeing this great art in each other's homes will be a good advertisement for next year, when they intend to do it this way again.

My girls made out great.  Thing 2 cleared $120, and Thing 1 made over $200.00.  
They want to have booths again in next year's arts festival.  I told them now I've shown them how to do it, next year they're on their own, and they have to pay for more of their supplies, though they both have a lot to start with already from leftovers from this year.

They were so tickled, though, it was a lot of fun to watch people coming over and admiring their items, and it's been really neat to see people wearing their jewelry and things around town.  Is this what it feels like to be a real artist?