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DANCING IN THE KITCHEN

DANCING IN THE KITCHEN

In years gone by we would go out dancing. I loved dancing and considered it a much needed work out as much as a way to connect with others. When I think back, this was a fitting attitude for me to employ since I lacked any rhythmic or dancing talent. However lack of dancing ability never held me back. With arms flailing and feet gyrating, in beat or not, I threw myself into the fast moving heat of the moment. We would dance until we literally worked up a sweat, resting a moment, refreshing ourselves with cocktails and rehydrating with water and then joining back with the other frenzied dancers under the shimmering mirror ball on the dance floor of the disco. I wasn’t kidding when I said ‘in years gone by’.
disco ball
At most dances there was little to no conversation as I recall as the booming music was deafening loud. Once we outgrew the discos we would still join others and kick up our heels at a community dance or at a house party. Dancing the night away was a great way to spend time with friends and to work off those extra calories. Nowadays we don’t go out dancing much however after dinner we do crank up the music and let loose with our uninhibited and unrestrained moves. Some nights we groove to oldies, other nights we dance close and lovingly sway to old romantic favorites.

After dinner at our daughter’s home her kitchen also becomes a dance floor. She, her husband and two kids amuse us with their astonishing and exceptional smooth moves. The songs are often sung or belted out karaoke style, sometimes a budding musician pounds out a mysterious tune on the piano or guitar, mostly our daughter chooses pop tunes of her era and we all shake our booty while the kids command the dance floor and put on the real show.
076air guitar 5kids dancing
We all join in during clean up and perform the quick step as we clear the table, bebop our way to the dishwasher, hip hop as we scrape leftovers into the waste bin, or slow dance by the light of the open refrigerator.
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One festive evening not too long ago there was cause to celebrate a birthday. Following dinner, our son-in-law Rob went into the kitchen to light the abundant candles on the birthday cake. The dancing music proceeded in full force and young and old were shaking and gyrating with vigour. Some with more enthusiasm than others, some with smooth moves and others taking calculated risks that involved injuring others. (Caution, dancing is not a spectator sport and can cause injuries.) Meanwhile one song ended, another began. This new song Bohemian Rhapsody happened to be a big favorite of Rob’s. The words of this song are gruesome,‘Mama I Killed a Man’ but has become an all time favorite and is sung at most celebration dinners. Why that song? Honestly I don’t know or we just can’t remember.

However, the lit cake was left abandoned on the counter as Rob wholeheartedly grabbed center stage (a coveted floor space dividing dining room and kitchen) and danced off his entire meal plus amazed us with his innate aptitude at playing air guitar! While directly behind him scores of small fires were glowing brightly, smoke was curling upwards, candles were delicately melting and a coconut topped cake was browning. The aroma of the toasting coconut alerted us to the kitchen being ablaze mere seconds before the fire alarm drowned out the blasting music. You can see the burning cake in the background of the following picture.burning cakeG Bday Cake 2011
Much to our hilarity the cake was presented and enjoyed, melted candles, toasted coconut and all. It was a night of dancing not to be forgotten…

A few notes…
Dancing is all about letting go of your inhibitions so don’t try to look cool because dancing is all about having fun. Following are my personal three commandments of dancing:

1. Thou shall let go of restrictions and allow the music to draw you in
2. Thou shall just relax, get up off that chair, feel the music and bend your knees, one leg at a time while channelling your natural fun seeking and creative impulses
3. Thou shall not light birthday candles until the song ends…

Following is a youtube link that teaches you how to dance to Lip Gloss by Little Mama

 
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Posted by on June 15, 2013 in Open for Discussion

 

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FOLK ART

FOLK ART

FOLK ART

Traditionally Folk Art is the work of untrained craftsmen.  There is a strong functional and practical element to Folk Art.  Utilizing the long winter hours, farmers would build new tools and whirligigs for the farm while the women would gather together and create quilts. 

Folk Art reminds us that art has a place in the simplest of homes. Combining a love of color and an inventive spirit with a creative flair, Folk Artists are perhaps untrained and yet demonstrate imaginative, artistic talent.  066

Primitively crafted and often roughly painted, Folk Art offers a bit of charm and whimsy but is meant to be practical and utilitarian and for me using reclaimed wood for Folk Art satisfies my need to be creative.  I enjoy taking a cast off piece of wood, cutting, painting and repurposing it as something whimsical, fun and playful.  Folk Art pieces are fun to create, and of course it’s very gratifying if others enjoy them as well!

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The simplest and most common example of Folk Art is the wind-driven whirligig.  The word whirligig is derived from two Old English words whirlen (to whirl) and gigg (top) meaning to literally ‘whirl a top’.

The American version of the wind driven whirligig probably originated with the immigrant population of the United Kingdom as whirligigs are mentioned in early American colonial times. ???????????????????????????????

By the latter half of the 19th century constructing wind driven whirligigs had become a pastime and art form.  Craftsman from the southern Appalachians continued to produce whirligigs into the 20th century. During the great depression there was resurgence of whirligigs by craftsman and amateurs which was attributed to the need for ready cash.

A wind-driven whirligig transfers the energy of the wind into either a simple release of kinetic energy through rotation or a more complicated transfer of rotational energy.  The whirligig can be either a simple or a more complicated mechanism that produces repetitive motions and/or creates sounds. The wind simply pushes on the whirligig turning one part of it and setting it into motion by using inertia.

An example of a simple whirligig is the button whirligig, (also called button spinners).  Button whirligigs are simple spinning toys made with a button and a string or thread.  They work by looping the ends of the thread and twisting and pulling with both arms, causing the button to spin. They were simple toys.  In America, they were popular during pioneering days and during the Depression Era because they were inexpensive to make, yet very entertaining. Children of the great depression from the southern Appalachians and Ozarks remember a button and a string as the primary spinning toy of their youth.

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Create a button spinner yourself by following these simple directions:

 YOU WILL NEED:

Button

Thread or string

Scissors

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INSTRUCTIONS:

 1.   Cut a 24-inch length of thread or string.

2.   Thread the string through the holes in the button.

3.   Tie the ends of the string together.

4.   Insert the middle finger of each hand into the loop at each end with the button in the middle.

5.   Spin the button to twist the strings and continue twisting the string until it becomes wrapped around itself all the way to your fingers.

6.   Pull the strings taut to let them begin to untwist. Release the pressure and then pull the string taut again to keep the whirligig spinning. Apply gentle tension to the string by pulling your hands apart. The button will begin to spin.

NOTE:  Pulling and releasing the string tension keeps the button spinning. Speeding up the action causes the button to make a whirring sound.

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Enjoy some simple fun!

 
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Posted by on May 22, 2013 in Tutorials

 

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Two By Two

Two By Two

bright cut out animals
Have you ever wondered how Folk Art is created?

One of the Folk Art items I enjoy creating is Noah’s Ark. I create the Ark from reclaimed wood that I salvage from demolition sites or old homes. Along with the ark I include a number of small wooden animals.

Following is my step by step method of creating wood animals from reclaimed wood:

1. The first step is to design the animal on paper and then carefully cut it out and laminate the design for a tracer that you can utilize over again for future animals. That would be a practical thing to do.
Or you can do as I do and draw the animal directly on a piece of suitable wood, which is my quick and easy no nonsense preference. Each animal becomes a ‘one of a kind’ with its own irreplaceable character.

2. When the outline of the animal is drawn onto the wood it is essential to cut it out. I use a scroll saw; I love this little saw and have used it for many years.
It was a present from my supportive husband who recognized early on in our life together that I was not the kind of woman who cared highly for roses or bling, but one who would appreciate the value of a sharp saw or belt sander. I have cut through many a board with this little saw, broken many a blade and stained wood with my blood.

3. Once one of Noah’s animals emerges from the piece of reclaimed wood the next step is to sand the rough edges. You can use a medium weight sand paper and do this by hand.
I utilize a belt sander, another gift that thrilled me more than a mix master would have. Many a knuckle has been sanded and skin lost, during this procedure!

4. As soon as the animal feels smooth all over the fun of painting begins. I use old house paint.
This is an efficient and practical way to recycle products that could end up in the landfill. Fortunately I find painting the house, inside and out, a pleasant and meditative pastime, so I am never short of dribs and drabs of paint.

5. After a base coat I apply the appropriate color and once it dries I apply a second coat. A bit more sanding, then an application of varnish or stain or wood wax depending on the amount of distressing I might do.
Additional details such as some hemp rope for the tail and mane on the horse are added.

The finishing touch on all the animals is to add the eyes. This last step ensures that the animals come ‘alive’!

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2013 in Tutorials

 

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