Sidewalk chalk paint and Jackson Pollock

sidewalk.paints

Late last week, we made sidewalk chalk paint, a pinterest inspired project.

We followed a recipe from All things Simple, mixing equal part cornstarch and water and then adding the food coloring. One of my older boys pointed out that this is almost the exact same recipe for Ooobleck, a Dr. Suess inspired concoction pinging around the internet and cropping up in primary school science classes. He also used the phrase “non-Newtonian fluid” – he must have been paying attention when they made it at school.

With much excitement, including some squealing and jumping up and down, we headed outside to paint.

painting2

The results were mixed. Going on, the paint was transparent and it only became opaque and chalky as it dried. Perhaps this says something about my two younger children, but they found this delay a bit unsatisfying. Grumbling ensued.

We were painting on our driveway made of brick-colored pavers and a stone path, and these dark surfaces might have muted the colors initially. The effect might be more immediate, more satisfying on a spanking new white sidewalk.

pollock sidewalk paint

No matter. They found a fun way to play with the paint, splattering it, Jackson Pollock style.

Later, we did a quick internet search on Jackson Pollock and came across jacksonpollock.org this amazing intuitive and fun website which allowed them to “paint” Jackson Pollock style by computer, switching colors with the click of the mouse. Fun indeed.

from jackson pollock org

Making Moustaches

Moustaches seem to be everywhere these days: on keychains, pushpins, bandaids and more. My household is no exception.

uncooked pretzel moustache

So, when we recently made soft pretzels, it didn’t surprise me when one of my children suggested we make pretzel moustaches. Starting with a basic preztel dough (recipe follows), we rolled them out, thicker in the middle and long and thin at the ends.

rolling the dough 1

Then, we twisted in the midde so it would pinch in, where the two “halves’ of the moustache should join. Then we gave some of them a nice twirl, like a good handlebar moustache needs.

rolling pretzel moustaches

Given that our pretzels tend to be somewhat freeform, it was not too much of a stretch to make them. Plus, it was really fun.

pretzel moustaches baked

Here’s what they looked like baked. (The secret to getting the rich, dark color is a quick dip in a boiling baking soda solution before baking… more on that in the recipe.)

pretzel moustache 2

Soft Pretzel Recipe for making moustaches

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (1 package)
3 ounces unsalted butter, melted (I used margarine because of a dairy allergy in the family)
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
2 quarts water
1/2 cup baking soda
Coarse sea salt

Directions:

Combine the water, sugar, yeast, and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix with the dough hook until combined and then let sit for 5 minutes.

Add the flour and salt. Mix on low speed until combined. Increase the speed to medium and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and starts to form a ball. This should not take more than a few minutes. If the dough is sticky, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time.

Remove the dough from the bowl, place on a floured surface and knead into a ball with your hands.

Oil a bowl with olive oil, add the dough and turn to coat with the oil.

Cover with a clean, damp towel and place in a warm spot until the dough doubles in size. This should take about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Bring the water to a boil in a small square pan over high heat and dissolve the baking soda.

Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a flat, floured surface.  Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, about 3 ounces each. Roll each piece into a long rope and shape into the lengths or shapes that you want. Possibly moustaches?

Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.

Drop each pretzel into the baking soda/water solution for about 30 seconds and then remove with a large slotted spoon (or two) and place on prepared baking sheet. Season liberally with the salt.

Place into the oven and bake for 16 to 18 minutes until dark golden brown.

Meet Moustatio

moustatio

For anyone who likes making things, sharing creativity with a child is a special pleasure.  Helping a child find and execute a manageable project, however, can be challenging. Some of my children have been know to come up with plans like “Mom, can we sew a police officer’s uniform for Max the dog? I think it needs to have stripes down the sides of the pants and a metal badge too and he needs a miniature baton and handcuffs. I was thinking we could make the handcuffs out of tinfoil? Do we have any blue fabric?”

So, when my 10 year old recently asked, “mom, what should I make?” I felt lucky to be able to come up with a manageable project. I said, “Sharpie art. Lets decorate the shirt you’re wearing with one of the cartoon characters you’re recently invented.”  O.K., so maybe I didn’t actually say “recently invented” but you get the gist.

We scanned and enlarged his pencil drawing and then printed it out. He traced the drawing with black sharpie so it would show through a T-shirt laid on it. Then he changed shirts, placed his faded tie-die over the drawing (and a few extra layers of paper to prevent the sharpie from bleeding through to the back of the shirt) and traced with a black sharpie. Voila! Meet Moustatio. On a shirt.

making.moustatio.composite

The whole project took about 40 minutes and best of all, he did most of it himself.