Everyone, Happy Christmas from my house to yours!

See the tree below?  Well this tree came to be because I could not get my family to cooperate and go get a real tree from the farmer’s market.  So this morning, December 22, I said to my son, “We are going to Walmart to get a tree.”

So here we go to Walmart at 8 AM.  We decided on a white tree with white lights.  We scooted out.  After we get home and get the tree set up, my daughter wakes up and is like, “NO!”

I knew that I had to come up with a plan.  I had wrapped all my presents in smiley face paper and I thoughts well, that is happy.
Then, I remembered that my daughter and husband had gone to meet an artist from Augusta, Georgia, that did happy art.
Here is a picture of the Happy artist, Leonard “Porkchop” Zimmerman with my daughter.  Click Here for previous post on Porkchop. We were doing a gift that included items from Augusta and Porkchop was kind enough to sign about 20 or so prints.  Porkchop met my family at the local coffee shop and signed in pencil, of course.
I illegally ran copies of Happy and shrunk 50 percent on the copy machine.  Then, I put red yarn on the art to make ornaments.  After that I used some painted paper to cut out “Happy Christmas”.

My daughter came in and smiled.
My husband came in and laughed.

Oh my son and I were so happy that Porkchop’s “Happy” had made our Christmas season so very Happy!

Have you ever had that one teacher that just connected with your kid? Well, you know the saying it takes a village…Mary Frances is still very connected to a number of her teachers from PK-12 grade. Ann Danford is one of them. She taught MF when she was in 2nd grade. We have blogged on her before. I have listed the links for you to visit and see just how amazing of a teacher she is!
We were the recipients of this fabulous hand made tree out of clay. If you want to see more things handmade by Ann check out her Etsy store at
Giddy Up Ann

 This is Ann with MF in 2nd grade. Yes, she is retired now but that hasn’t stopped her from coming to many events for Mary Frances this year. She made it to her volleyball senior night. See link below:
Here is a photo of that village that is still around supporting MF.

She was at her recent signing to Rhodes College to play volleyball.

 This photo was taken during January of Mary Frances’ 2nd grade. Santa bought her Roy for Christmas. You see Ann and MF share the same love for lots of things and dogs and horses are 2 of them. We will never forget Ann dropping off a Christmas goody for MF that had a welcome to your new home puppy theme going on. Seriously, Ann you have made such an impact on our family. I am blessed and honored not only to call you my daughter’s teacher but “family”.

Look at her doing what she does best! TEACHING
You my friend are just the

These trees were made out of white clay coils.
They were fired. You can glaze them or use acrylics and spray a light coat of polyurethane on them. I am just in love with the way this tree has turned out!
We will decorate with it many years to come and I feel certain when MF gets out on her own, she will want it for her home.
We have blogged on Mrs. Danford before check out the links below. Best 2nd grade teacher that Mary Frances could have ever had! We still make her famous chocolate pumpkin muffins during Thanksgiving. What an influence you were to MF in 2nd grade and still are as she is a senior.
We even went to the stables in and did a photo shoot with her horse Rocky.
 This is by far one of my most treasured photos from second grade. It fits right in with my senior philosophy…Roots and Wings. Ann, you have helped us give Mary Frances some really deep roots with valuable lessons. Now she needs to spread her wings and fly with all we have taught her. 
Rocky is such a good horse.  I remember just how gentle he was with her all afternoon. Thanks for our Christmas Tree that inspired this whole post. We love you to  the moon and back.
XOXO – 1969
So, we all think this original Ann Danford looks like a tree that is straight out of Whoville. Watch the video below and see for yourself!
Kim and Karen both love Romero Britto.  To see previous posts, click HERE!   The project below was done by 3rd Graders.  Before the project began, I encouraged them to “not be so detailed.”  After they got their drawings done, I decided they did not listen to my pitch on less detail.  Oh well, the details really made the projects so much more fun!

We talked a little about Romero Britto.
The kids drew with pencil and then outlined with sharpie.
The kids painted the background.
The kids painted the trees.
The kids outlined.
Yes, the project took several weeks to complete.
I think the hard work was definitely worth it.
Check them out!

In my opinion, this project was a learning experience for the third graders.  They were told to consider not being so detailed, but many chose to ignore my recommendations.  It is all good though.  The kids did what they wanted to do.  I saw them going down Detail Road.  Eventually, they got to the red stop sign.  Then, they realized the devil was in the details.  I think it is much better for kids to realize some things on their own.  Until you experience some things first hand, you really do not get it.

I recently heard this song by James Brown and it really cracks me up.  It is a Christmas song full of soul and called “Soulful Christmas.”
I ran across Alexander Calder’s “Christmas Tree” and decided to try it with my 4th Graders.  According to my research, Calder did his “Christmas Tree” around 1970.
Below, you can see Alexander Calder’s “Christmas Tree”.  Calder used primary colors in his work.  I love it.

Directions for our version of Calder’s “Christmas Tree”

I talked a little bit about Calder.
I had the kids draw the tree with pencil.
The kids used stencils to make circles, yes, with pencil.
The kids outlined the pencil with sharpie.
The kids used acrylic paints for this project.

Results below-

Although, I could not find any information on Calder’s primary color Christmas tree above, I did find some information out about the Christmas tree sculpture by Calder below. 

In 1942 Alexander Calder was asked by a nurse friend to make some things to cheer up wounded soldiers convalescing in a Staten Island military hospital. One of those things: this awesome Christmas tree, cut from a tin can.(http://daddytypes.com/2014/12/25/alexander_calder_christmas_trees.php)

The idea of a nurse friend asking Alexander Calder to make something for wounded soldiers was pretty amazing.  The fact that Calder made something was even more amazing.  In 1942, he had hit the big time.  In 1943, Calder was honored as the youngest artist ever to have a retrospective exhibition at the art most prestigious venue, New York’s Museum of Modern Art. (http://www.theartstory.org/artist-calder-alexander.htm)
Calder making the sculpture for the wounded soldiers was pretty cool.  Obviously, the nurse friend felt comfortable asking her friend to make his art for a good cause.

Maybe all of us “art people” need to be more like Calder.
He had a friend that trusted him to say “yes” and make some art for a good cause.  He respected the wounded soldiers and chose to honor them by creating art.

Artists out there, we all get these requests to make this and that for everyone on a daily basis.  Saying no is much easier than saying yes, but saying yes is always rewarding.  I do not ever recall saying, “Oh boy, I wish that I would not have created that art.”

The song below does not have anything to do with Alexander Calder.  I just finished watching Season 1 of Stranger Things.  My two college aged kids got me interested in this strange show.  Anyway, the song “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by The Clash was actually in several episodes.  So, here goes…