Art And Empathy On The Younger Generations

 

I’ve used a lot of art mediums throughout my life’s journey. Honestly, I’ve scribbled…painted…glued…carved…molded…well, basically I’ve done it all. And I’ve come to the realization that my obsession isn’t with art, but more the freedom that it grants.

In any other avenue of life, there are rules and parameters.

How dull is that?

Rules and parameters mean…it’s been done before. Someone has claimed it. It’s theirs. They have shaped it to their liking, slapped a patent on it and now if you wish to re-create it…you are ‘borrowing’ an idea.

But with art there are no rules, regulations, parameters. Instead of a process void of thought and critical thinking, it’s the exact opposite.

People talk of the vanishing art programs. Education is slowly becoming strictly math, science, language arts and social studies. Such a strict focus on the ideas of others. Sadly, this is a mistake that will one day create a pit of regret.

The assumption is made that math creates a critical thinker. I propose that art creates critical thinking, enabling to use of math. It’s the reason why often time music=math minded individuals. It’s the ability the see the beauty in the numbers. Minus emotion, void of desire…who the hell actually wants to do all of those repetitive assignments created by minds past. If you love math…that’s an emotion. It’s a desire. Desire drives the art process. As well as the ability to calculate. These things take a sharpness. An ability to figure it out. As an artist can look at a blank sheet and envision a vast multitude of ways to give the paper a life of it’s own…So can too a mathematician, who views a series of random numbers and attempts to make sense of them.

Language arts, while teaching the works of others,  goes on the inclination that this will teach you how to create your own. True…Language arts does teach the necessary tools of the trade. But your creation comes from emotion. To grab the entire spectrum of emotion, you need to find the emotions first. You need empathy.

You need a trigger.

Triggers can be visual, heard, tasted, touched and smelled. And some people seem to feel an entirely new sense. A 6th sense. And in order to utilize these crucial senses, you must have an ‘artistic vision’. You need to become skilled at exploring your own mind. Unbutton the top button, so to speak. Basically…broaden your horizons. Be OF the world, don’t sit on the sidelines.

One of my most…if not the most, important lessons I’ve tried to instill in my kids is to keep an open mind. Experience the issue at hand, prior to casting judgement. And in some instances, it may not be possible to experience an event. Some events we truly wish to avoid! But we can relate out of empathy. Empathy can be awoken with art. It can bring tears and an understanding, as in these works by Bansky. His attempt to cast a light on the darkness that war brings to children, was sadly and  completely accomplished.

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Bansky

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While some argue that the photos are too graphic for children, I would argue that closing their eyes to history creates a path to repetition. Social Studies classes of today, are watered down ‘incomplete sentences’.  How about throw in some Bansky?  

Throw in truth…

Allow the future generation to visualize the consequences of their future actions. Allow them to empathize. It’s like the child who asks “Is the stove hot?” You say “Yes. Don’t touch it.” And of course, just to see if you’re jerking their chain, they touch it <—Insert screaming child here. 

They need to personally experience the sensation. Verbal or physical…they need a trigger.

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Bansky

You know… if I were a government hell bent on creating a generation of  loyal, non-empathetic and  unquestioning followers….I’d remove the art….

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DIY CHAMOMILE BODY BUTTER

Completely organic body butter, is actually insanely simple to make.

Three Ingredients:

1 Cup Water

3 TBS Chamomile (Fresh or Dried )

1 Cup Coconut Oil (Unrefined, Cold Pressed, Organic)


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Step 1 : Bring to a boil chamomile (about 3 TBS), with about 1  Cup water. It doesn’t have to be exact. The idea is to boil the chamomile to rapidly infuse it with the water.  Then sift it using a few paper towels or cheese cloth. You’re not eating it, so use what you can to strain. It MUST be a fine strainer.

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Hold onto the brown/yellow water. You’ll need about 3 TBS of the newly infused water.

Then add you infused water to your coconut oil. Simmer gently until the oil is melted.

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Mix well. Freeze for 10 minutes. (Some people skip this step and just blend. However, I like the chamomile to be completely infused with the oil. Flavored, so to speak.)

During the freezing process, prepare your jar. I went with a simple DIY beaded jar. Once your butter is back to it’s ‘cold pressed’ state; whip it, mash or simply spoon it in the jar. This part is all about consistency preference.

I prefer it thick. And it’s amazing on the legs and feet!

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Enjoy!

 


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Avocado Sugar Scrub

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Ingredients:

1 Avocado

1 Cup Sugar

1 Large TBS…heaping…Coconut Oil ‘Unrefined, Cold Pressed, Organic’


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Peel, dice and mash the avocado. Add sugar and coconut oil. Mix into a paste. Set to chill 10 minutes in the freezer.

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And viola!

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Here’s my daughter trying it out…

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Sugar Scrub can be just about anything you can create. Strawberry? Banana? Green Tea? Mint?  What ideas can you come up with?

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HP All-In-One Desktop Computer Review

In a word: #AWESOME

Honestly, I love this thing. I’ve had many computers throughout the years. Actually, my first computer was a Commodore 64. That was back when you had to type a full page of coding just to change the font color. Everything was a process. I believe I was 9 or 10 at the time. From that point on I have lived, ate and breathed computers. Anybody recall the first chat rooms? How about avatars? You weren’t really you, but rather some hot model pulled from an ad. You just chose how perfect you wanted to be and presto change-o.

My original websites were written entirely in coding. And with each new device, more coding had to be learned. But it was like a symphony to me. Pure logic. I just had to make it fit.

So naturally, I’ve had a lot of gadgets in my life. I think one half of my brain is fully paints and easels; the other half purely gadgets and gears. And a new computer sets me in ‘kid in a candy store’ mode. Much to my sheer delight, my husband got me a new toy for Christmas this year. I was even happier when I saw the color!

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Just a few weeks prior, I was moaning about all the black cords, huge processor and overall dust pattern on the bedroom computer. Honestly…it’s an eyesore. I did however need a computer in the family room. I’m prone to late night blogging and my husband gets up at 3:30 am. Essentially, I barely used the bedroom computer and had no desire to have the clunky thing in the family room.

The HP All-In-One has ONE cord going into the wall. The other two cords are white and specifically for the keyboard and the mouse.

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The WebCam is built in….so naturally…I had to try it out….

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The keyboard and mouse are also aesthetically pleasing…

As far as speed, I’ve had zero issues. I’m a Netflix junkie and the video playback is flawless…

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(Obviously I’m correct about my brain being two halves of wacky…I can never decide between Comedy and Horror…Go figure.)

And it’s equipped with Cortana…basically she’s Siri for an HP.

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And of course, there’s plenty of help…

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It runs the Windows 10 program, which honestly, I didn’t love when it first came out. Too many issues with game play on already existing games. But they seem to have worked out the kinks and now it’s growing on me. The apps are handy and I love having instant access to my e-mail.

To be clear:  This isn’t built for major league gaming. It’s not Alienware . (I have a 17 year old son…believe me when I say, he’s insanely picky about his gaming gear. So my opinion is based on his opinion of how fast the ‘on screen’ reaction time is.)  But it is fast! I use it for internet based work and play. With the use of iCloud for easy file storage and transfer, I haven’t had an issue. Yes there’s a HUGE amount of storage, however in the past I’ve learned not to over-stuff a computer if you can help it. Homework for the kids, photos, social media, movies etc…it’s genuinely a great gadget.

Plus…yep…you can pop in a DVD!

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This one was purchased at Best Buy, so I’m going to post the specs directly from their site. I’d be here all night if I typed it all out….

And no..I’m not a paid reviewer. This is a non-paid site. If you’re paid, then you’re swayed!

This is an honest review based on my own experience with this particular computer. I pay for this domain, so technically …I’m paying to share this review with you.

http://www.bestbuy.com/site/hp-pavilion-23-8-all-in-one-intel-pentium-8gb-memory-1tb-hard-drive-hp-finish-in-snow-white/5325806.p?skuId=5325806&ref=212&loc=1&ksid=50103ab2-ddcf-4d75-829c-ea22d4cc66e1&ksprof_id=8&ksaffcode=pg199028&ksdevice=c&lsft=ref:212,loc:2

Product Features

Microsoft Windows 10 operating system

Windows 10 brings back the popular Start Menu from Windows 7 and introduces new features, like the Edge Web browser that lets you markup Web pages on your screen.Learn more ›

23.8″ Full HD LED display

Native 1920 x 1080 resolution showcases your games and HD movies with impressive color and clarity.

8GB system memory for advanced multitasking

Substantial high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run your games and photo- and video-editing applications, as well as multiple programs and browser tabs all at once.

SuperMulti DVD/CD burner

Reads and writes to a wide variety of media formats, including DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW, CD-R/RW, DVD-RAM and double-layer DVD.

1TB hard drive for ample file storage space

Holds a significant collection of digital photos, music, HD videos and DVD-quality movies. 7200 rpm spindle speed enables rapid read/write times for handling large files and complex applications.

Cloud support lets you access your files anywhere

Store your photos, videos, documents and other files on Dropbox for secure access across multiple devices. Fees may apply.

Built-in webcam with two microphones

Makes it easy to video chat with family and friends or teleconference with colleagues over Skype or other popular applications.

Built-in media reader for simple photo transfer

Supports SD, SDHC and SDXC memory card formats.

2 USB 3.0 ports maximize the latest high-speed devices

Also includes 2 USB 2.0 ports to connect more accessories and peripherals. The USB 3.0 ports are backward-compatible with USB 2.0 devices (at 2.0 speeds).

Wireless and wired network connectivity

Built-in high-speed wireless LAN connects to your network on the most common Wi-Fi standards. Gigabit Ethernet LAN port plugs into wired networks.

Bluetooth 4.0 interface syncs with compatible devices

Wirelessly transfer photos, music and other media between the computer and your Bluetooth-enabled cell phone or MP3 player, or connect Bluetooth wireless accessories.

Multimedia software package included

CyberLink PowerDirector, HP Recovery Manager, HP Support Assistant, HP Games Powered by WildTangent, Netflix, Snapfish.

Additional ports

Microphone and headphone jacks.

Intel, Pentium, Celeron, Core, Atom, Ultrabook, Intel Inside and the Intel Inside logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries.

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That’s about for it now. I honestly have no cons to this gadget. Typically I have an entire list of whimpering and whining, but nothing comes to mind as of yet. That could change a few months from, but for right now….TWO THUMBS UP!

DIY Pottery Barn Hacks

As much as I’d love to toss aside $50 like it’s nothing, I would be doing myself a huge disservice. I like Pottery Barn and IKEA as much as anyone else, but money is money. You’ll get it away from me, when you pry it from my cold dead hands.

You know what they say: Necessity is the mother of invention…or in the this case, ‘wanting’ and ‘frugality’. But before we go any further, I want to be clear…decorative items are just that…DECORATIVE. They serve a visual purpose only. I’ve often shook my head in disbelief at the large sums of money that people throw away to essentially STARE AT AN OBJECT! Appliances, bedding etc…of course, buy new and with a warranty. But to look at something across the room?! What a waste.

Here are a couple of items directly from the Pottery Barn website….

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The vases above,  have the same appearance of candle holders glued to bowls. Obviously, their’s is one piece, but you can accomplish the same look for 2$ and some  hot glue. 

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Admittedly, they are lovely…but  I’m cheap!

So here’s what I did for a Valentine’s theme vase.

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Two Dollar Store vases

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Glue the two vases together with hot glue.

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Fill with Dollar Store fillers.

 


I also frequent local Thrift-Stores. Stay away from fabric items that can retain bed bugs. Everything else, you can scrub in the garage prior to entry. Bed bugs can also hide in the crevices of dressers. So be  wary. Those are items you have to bite the bullet on, but can often find fabulous sales if you do your homework.

Today’s find was just what I was looking for! Two tall candle sticks.

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A side note: These candle holders were $1.40  each at the Thrift-Store.

Here’s the average price on Google’s Shop Search:

(Remember, it’s about the ‘look’. These are decorative items.)

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I sincerely believe…Hot Glue is the answer to all the world’s problems.

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Have fun with it. Every now and then grab a couple items. Keep in mind your overall theme. And never pay full price. You’re paying for a label. I’ve never gone into someones home and started looking at the labels on the bottoms of their decor. Nobody does that, unless of course…they lack manners. (Or it’s your best friend, then by all means…share you money saving tips!)


 

Here was a fun one I did last night….Clearly I have Valentine’s Day on the brain. With this many hints literally right in front of him,  hopefully  my husband will remember it!

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Recycled flower hanger

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Hot glue and Dollar Store ribben

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On a side note: Those adorable 3-D hearts, came from  Pat Catans. They were $2  and already had built in foam tape on their backs.


Most of us already own stuff that we can up-cycle or refurb. Take a look  around. What are you sick of looking?  Give it a fresh new look. And check out the Flea Markets, Thrift-Stores and Dollar Stores, before you spend your hard earned cash.

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While I enjoy the look of the ladder, paying $249-$429 to enjoy the look of the ladder…is nuts. Buy some wood at Home Depot and knock yourself out. Obviously, they don’t need to be sturdy. They are decorative.


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Top 20 Valentine’s Day DIY Projects

Top 20 Valentine’s Day DIY Projects

 

The Pinterest bug hit this morning with a vengeance! As a result, we’ve created a few things and surfed the net to keep our minds in the Valentine’s DIY spirit. Here are a few things we found. By ‘we’, I mean my daughter and I. Of course… one can only surmise at this point, that I yanked her into my crazy crafting hot glue obsession. At least…she liked the throw blanket that we picked up for a  whopping $5…. Go us!

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So we of course…hot glued a bunch of stuff. The best part about hot glue, is the fact that you can PEEL IT OFF! You can re-use all your dollar store goodies for other DIY projects.

And we went nuts on the fireplace…..

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So join us in all of our gluey, crafting, Pinterest obsessed glory! Here’s our Top 20 Valentine DIY ideas….

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Interior Design 2017 Color Trends

It’s that time of year. The New Year is upon us! For some of us, this means we’re buried neck deep in darkness, freezing temps and a strong need to create a positive atmosphere. The holidays are over (although we still have Valentines Day for all Pinterest lovers everywhere), and it’s time to settle in for the winter doom and gloom….or not.

Drawing on the Pantone Report, 2017 is guaranteed to be bright and vibrant. I sincerely hope that you  LOVE color!

*Links and credit included

Without further delay, here are the top picks for 2017 interior design and decor.


http://interiorzine.com/2016/09/15/interior-design-trends-2017/

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http://www.designmena.com/insight/trend-forecaster-milou-ket-reveals-colour-trends-for-20162017

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http://www.designmena.com/insight/trend-forecaster-milou-ket-reveals-colour-trends-for-20162017

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http://www.catherineandjasonbarry.com/interior-design-trends-coming-2017/

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http://www.bykoket.com/news/interior-design/elle-decor-predicts-color-trends-2017

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http://modern-homedesign.com/modern-vintage-interior-design-7402/modern-vintage-interior-design-2017-of-modern-home-interior-ign-home-interior-ign-for-home-gallery/

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http://joburgeastexpress.co.za/65332/5-interior-design-trends-for-2017/

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http://www.designmena.com/insight/trend-forecaster-milou-ket-reveals-colour-trends-for-20162017

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http://www.eclectictrends.com/category/trends/page/3/

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http://h0me.website/interior-design-colors/

interior design colors for 2017


http://modern-homedesign.com/modern-vintage-interior-design-7402/modern-vintage-interior-design-2017-of-modern-house-ign-trends-2017-of-living-room-ign-trends-living-gallery/

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It doesn’t take a trained eye to notice the clean, eclectic, bright and yet classic pattern of 2017’s design trends.

I don’t know about you, my lovely reader, but I can craft and Pin with the best of them! Dollar stores, craft stores and thrift-stores can make this years interior design projects much less expensive. And when you create the design, it holds a much deeper meaning.  When you’re relaxing on the sofa enjoying your splendid handy-work, give yourself a pat on the back and stare in awe at your incredible artistic vision.

Currently I’m working on some Valentine’s goodies…that should keep me occupied for a while. Happy Bargain Hunting!

iPhone: Photography

My job took me on a walk-about today. Spring days like today,  are the reason my phone is glued to my hip. While I have had an android, I prefer the iPhone for photos. Yes. I’m an Apple gal. For a while we had an ongoing battle in this house, pertaining to cell phones. Sort of like the Twilight thing….Team Jacob vs. Team Edward. Eventually, I persuaded them all over to my side.

The first four photos are of our town cemetery. While many go to mourn, twice as many go for the beauty. My family is buried here as well. Often I have both visited family and sat down to read.

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I think it goes without saying, that this particular cemetery is rather photogenic. Although I suppose for all of us, one is favored above all others.

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As a child, this was a fascinating place. Not only because my mother brought me here to visit family, but because of the multitude of little hiding places. I suppose that is why I took the photos. The existance of this place, shows the human frailty that will one day keep me from visiting.

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Park Ave……

I think I have stood on this street, more than any other. It’s the center…the little space that brings the town together. The buildings are magnificently kept up. And when I say everybody knows everybody…I mean it. Small town America is not just a phrase. It genuinely exists.

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I’m not thrilled about the lines in the next one. Believe it or not, the left wall is actually bowed a bit. I hate it when that happens. It’s misery to line up.

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The barber…actually, we have several. This one just happens to be very photogenic …and it was in my line of vision today.

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That’s technically half car / half train, below. Don’t worry…it wasn’t a nut riding down the tracks…

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Thanks for checking out my photos.

Follow my Instagram for a constant photo stream: @homefreekids

Baking with a Convection Oven

We recently purchased a convection oven and just for the sheer blissful hell  of it, I thought I’d bake a cake…

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Yes…that’s a lovely dripping marshmallow topping…..

And here’s the steps… in pictures…..

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Between Legos and LOLs

HOMEFREEKIDS.COM

“What’s a conundrum?” …..”ummmm, ask your sister“.

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So my youngest turned 10 this past December. He’s in that ‘inbetween’ world. The one where fantasy begins to slowly slip away into reality. Mind you, there’s still plenty of fantasy….but not quite as much. I’d say around a 10% decrease in the past year. Functioning at a good 90% and still roaming the maze in ‘the Labyrinth’, along with Sting (yes…I’m that old), my son still clings to his childhood. And somewhere between legos and trading lols with his bff, there’s a tiny glimpse into his future…lurking…..

For quite some time, I’ve been quite aware of his ‘all boy’ psyche. Caution to the wind, shoes unlaced, to heck with the proper safety gear, ‘Mom, you’re paranoid!’, ‘this is gonna be AWESOME!’, ‘Mom…has anyone ever died skydiving with an umbrella?’, barreling full speed ahead, who really needs bones anyway? and…

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