Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Original artwork with the patina of age

A few minutes ago I was standing in my kitchen looking at the beautiful sculptures adorning the tops of my cabinets, and wondering if I had the energy to stand on a chair and scrape off some of the cobwebs.  And then I started laughing.  Me, clean my house?  What is this strange concept of which you speak?
And then I looked some more at the sculptures.  They were all made by my children, when they were very young.  A few are made of Ivory soap, but most of them are made of clay.  Homemade clay, because when the kids were small, we couldn't afford PlayDough. (or much of anything else.)
Some day when I dust them, I'll post pictures.  Right now, you'd all just be horrified at the swags and festoons of crud.
My children loved crafts.  I used to buy towers of cheap paper plates (way cheaper than paper!)  and we had beautiful paintings and drawings taped all over the house.  I used to save toilet paper tubes, and no, I'm not obsessive-compulsive; they were great for making totem poles and finger puppets.  But some of the best times were with the clay.
2 cups baking soda
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup water
Bring all three ingredients to a hard boil in a big saucepan; reduce heat and stir constantly till it's the consistency of mashed potatoes.  Put a few drops of food coloring in there and stir it around.   Dump it on a plate and let it cool before you let your children touch it.
After it's cool, divide it between/among your children and let them sculpt.  This stuff hardens overnight, too, and after it hardens it can be painted.  It's harmless if they eat it, but it doesn't taste very good.
You can do anything with it that you can do with 'real' clay.  Christmas ornaments, statues, dishes. . . .
The stuff keeps forever.  20 years later you can be standing in your kitchen looking at the tops of your cabinets, and seeing the most beautiful artwork in the world, rippling in the breeze.  Oh wait, that's the cobwebs, never mind.
But underneath, oh underneath, are priceless treasures.  Remnants of a time gone by.  Personalized antiques.  Evidence that once upon a time, maybe we did something right. 
Sometimes, you know, we all need some affirmation.
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Posted by Mamacita (The REAL one) @ 6:14 PM | |


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