Monday, August 31, 2009

they've got the crafty gene

My friends who were writing the Scrap a Latte blog decided to call it quits with that particular endeavor. However, 2 of the 3 of them -the 2 sisters, in fact- have their own blogs, showcasing their profound - and i think genetic- creativity. Kelly can be found at Lucy's Daughter sewing up a storm and feeding her obsession with colanders. Her older sister, Jean, can be found at Quilted Cupcake. I swear that woman can do anything : photography, knitting, crocheting, sewing, and layout. Oh, and she has finished a dozen podcasts on projects and techniques. Jean makes me feel lazy and mundane, but inspired. If you are feeling crafty check out these talented sisters.

Is that you autumn?

I woke up in the wee hours reaching for the ceiling fan chain to turn it off - i had a bit of a chill. The library has no children older than 4 in it this morning - school has started. Walking here this morning all of the trees and bushes are dark green, but i spotted this September is tomorrow; October can't be far behind.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

CHALLENGE! - Week One Update

*POST UPDATED AT BOTTOM* I am pacing myself. Week One went okay, i guess. I missed Thursday cause i went straight from work to dinner with my friend Jonah and his wife Kristie, visiting from CT, and didn't get home until 11pm. I talked to my mom on the phone for a while about some family news and decided that even though the gym is open at midnight it would best for me to read and go to bed instead. Saturday was already my declared day off due to plans. So i am off target for the first week by 10 minutes, coming in at 110 minutes total cardio. But still, that isn't terrible and i am getting back in the habit of going to the gym. Competition wise, i am not doing well. At the beginning of the week Erin was kicking my ass, posting triple my time every day - i think she REALLY doesn't want to cook for me. I don't have her total for this week yet, but i think we can assume she smoked me. On to Week Two! UPDATE : So i checked Erin's time when i got to work; she logged 275 minutes in Week One! Way to go! I am both proud and ashamed.

Friday, August 28, 2009

National Canal Museum

The Crayola Factory is in the same building as the National Canal Museum. Seems like a strange combo, but there you have it. After lunch on Team Day we debated whether or not we wanted to go to the canal museum: we had already paid admission (the $10 at Crayola is for both museums), but we were tired and frankly not really interested. I mean, canals are interesting, but a museum about them? Especially a museum on the third floor of a building; it isn't even ON the canal itself, which was a few streets over. But AJ pointed out an area called "mule harnessing" on the map and who could resist that? We decided to give it a whirl and if we were bored, we'd leave. Oh my goodness, the canal museum rocked! Who would have guessed? Because a lot of their visitors are kids because of crayola being downstairs, the entire museum was interactive. In the first half you each receive your own barge in the farmlands and load it with some cargo. Into the real water canal it goes and you get to be the mule pushing the boat along. But like the real canal it isn't just floating straight along; you have to negotiate tunnels and crazy elevators and, of course, the locks. Now i have visited the C&O Canal. I have seen actual locks and for the life of me i never really understood how they worked : close one section and flood it, then open a gate and drain it and blah, blah, blah. Whatever. Let me tell you, after you have done it yourself with your own little barge, it makes perfect sense. At one point you have to hold your barge still and drop a load of coal onto it from a hopper overhead at the side of the canal. Yikes. Once righted and properly loaded you continue along until to Port City, where you can sell you cargo Victory! There are interactives around the water about buoyancy and load. Once you turn in your barge and get dry, it is off to the the other half on the museum which was equally amazing; though what the heck is up with the puppet passengers on that barge? SCARY! There were a lot of tableauxs about life on and around the canal, most of them with some sort of interactive like washtub laundering but Amy and I HAD to figure what was up with the puppets. We finally found the open theater running a video about canal life, featuring the world's most alarming puppets. If hell was populated with wooden demons, they would look like these. It was captivating. It was so bad we couldn't take our eyes off of it. The plot of the video itself was pretty good and quite educational, but each puppet was more horrifying than the next. Did i mention the muskrats wearing carrot hats that spoke with french accents? Had it been available, I would have bought it on dvd just to show people i didn't dream it. So much time was lost in the theater of the damned that we barely had time to make it to mule harnessing. Unfortunately I was pretty punch-drunk by then and right after i snapped this picture and had a giggle fit because what the heck is she doing to that mule? i gave up on trying to learn anything else. The National Canal Museum was shockingly good and educational in the fun way. I definitely recommend it. But watch that video at your own risk.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

crayola madness

Ever been to the Crayola Factory in Easton, PA? It's kinda hard to miss, what with the giant crayons raining down the building. For our August Team Day we came in early and made the drive north for some team-building. Team members AJ, Lindsey, Amy, Felicia and I were ready for some fun. love the matching outfits This is not the actual factory where they manufacture Crayola products (that's up the street), but a hands-on museum of the history of the company, a showcase for new products, (Felicia drawing on color-expose paper) and a place for rampant creativity. When you pay the $10 admission they give you a map, a plastic bag and three tokens. Working in a museum i love, loved that they gave each person a bag because the whole time you are collecting products and making projects. The tokens are to use in machines that give you either a four-pack of crayons, a magic marker or some model magic paper clay. I really liked that instead of just giving you the samples you could choose which three you wanted; if you wanted different colored markers, or lots of crayons or three sets of model magic that was up to you. I did not get any markers because i wanted to spend my tokens on this a chance to visit the actual factory! There was a lot of anticipation, but alas, it was not to be. This summer they had an Under the Sea theme going in the museum with many of the projects being about sea creatures and fun sea-themed decorations Lindsey as Nemo and Amy as a slow, sad turtle except that she couldn't hold the face There was a demo stage/theater that did demonstrations on crayon and marker manufacturing so we went to the 11:40 show. To get in we had to pass a giant wall mural where every single member of my team pointed out the same figure and wondered exactly what drug this volunteer was taking cause even as people who enjoy our museum jobs we never have this expression of sheer ecstasy on our faces. The theater itself was cool and produces the crayons and markers that are in the token machines. It was interesting to learn see how clear, liquid wax becomes red crayons, but i gotta say that our performer was like the most boring guy ever. My job is to train people in public speaking and informal education and I needed to spend about 3 days with this guy. Yikes. It was bad. Though he was terrible, the process was amazing and i'm glad we endured his presentation. There was one thing in the theater that held everyone's rapt attention the digital crayon counter numbering the crayons produced at the actual factory. The numbers turned so fast it was nearly a blur. After the theater we wandered over a clear bridge into the studio space (where AJ randomly saw one of his close friends from New Jersey and his family; small world, right) which was a high-ceilinged, warehouse space that was filled with sunlight and huge art projects. There were multiple classes that you could pay extra to do, but there was a free craft as well using watercolors. Each one of use were given a turtle to paint. We were one of the few (possibly only) groups present without children. That did not deter us at all from getting into the spirit of creating. You have never seen a group of adults so intent on painting little turtles with dry-cake watercolors Here is my little guy, all bright-eyed and purple-shelled It was interesting to listen to the parents and grandparents around us "helping" their charges with the paints. Some were really encouraging and fun, but it was alarming to hear more than one person say Turtles are supposed to be green when the kids went for some other color - way to squelch creativity and completely miss the point of the museum, people. We made up stories about our turtles as we painted and had a blast. (l to r) AJ's Schizo, Felicia's Homer, Lindsey's Guillermo, Niki's Jasper and Amy's Milton Back across the bridge and into the lower galleries where there were every Crayola product you could imagine to play with : Amy and street chalk, AJ using a light pen, Amy and Lindsey using window markers in a plexi hallway while Felicia take pictures and then AJ draws outlines of the girls drawing on the outside of the wall, and lots of crayons The undersea theme was maintained with the coloring pages and a multi-media project Plus there was fish-printing We didn't get to use real fish, but you could still get the gist of the artform with rubber fish, brayers and printing ink. My fishy goes into the drying oven and voila! This is my favorite picture from this part of the museum cause AJ is hard at work with crayons, Amy has been captivated by something hanging from the ceiling, Felicia is taking pictures and Lindsey is still working on her seahorse someplace. What a fun place. And we still had to see The Crayola store is adjacent to the museum and filled with a bajillion Crayola products. I bought postcards and a fridge magnet, but i resisted everything else. What i was really interested in was Big Blue 15 ft long and 1500 pounds of crayon Kinda takes your breath away, no? Man i want to try to color with that. Time for lunch and then on to the next museum on the tour.