Monday, July 18, 2011

Senior Crafting Continues...

(Click on any photo to view a large image.)

Summertime and the living is hectic! For some reason, just as everyone else is  slowing down to enjoy the hazy days of summer, my life seems to ramp up exponentially. No rest for this diva, that's for sure. I've been keeping busy keeping the members busy at the Dorchester Senior Citizens Center. Even with all the frenzy associated with working with a bunch of fourth graders and helping them create a display board for a school exhibit, I had to continue my weekly crafting sessions with the seniors. It is becoming increasingly difficult to come up with projects that are suitable for everyone's abilities. Thank goodness for the internet. If I couldn't search out new ideas, I don't know what I would do.

Whenever possible, I try to incorporate rubber stamping into our projects. I think it is good to give participants a measure of freedom in what they create even though the components are coming from a kit (one that I create). To that end, I came up with the medallion treat box pictured here. Participants got to choose a small rubber stamp from the center's collection and use it to create a repetitive design on the body of the box using either black or sepia ink. The box, as well as the medallion, was cut using a die cutter. The brown disk, procured from Materials for the Arts, was attached with a small decorative brad from my own stash and wound with household string. But what good is an empty treat box? No good I say, so once they finished them, I filled the boxes of all the participants with candy.

The best projects are those that are actually useful to the crafters. With that in mind I designed this memo pad box. Each box was cut from different patterned paper so no two were alike. In addition, the embellishments used to decorate the upper part of the box differed from kit to kit. I also cut out colored text weight paper to fit inside the boxes and glued them together like memo pads. I even provided them with a pencil to write their notes with.

A project I saw on Splitcoast Stampers website inspired the next project, a flower pot card with three dimensional flowers and a charm. I designed the  "pot" in graphics software, exported it and cut it with the eCraft electronic cutter, Flowers were punched and attached with  dimensional foam to give them depth. A coordinating ribbon wraps around the pot's "brim' and sports a silver charm that says "You are Loved". The back of the envelopes. overstocks found at Materials for the Arts, bore the name of a company, so we simply placed faux postage floral stickers over the name to cover it up in a coordinated manner.

Before we knew it, July was upon us, bringing with it a major holiday. To prepare the center for a summer celebration, we created Fourth of July signs that were then placed around center as decorations. The seniors love to see their work being displayed and appreciated.

 In a break from papercrafting, I decided to try something a little different and a lot smaller. Among my Freecycle treasures I had some glass tiles and hundreds of tiny nail art decals, (the type that are used to decorate a woman's fingernails) and some small round magnets. I added some specialty glue and paint markers from my own supplies and BINGO!... instant refrigerator magnets. During this crafting session something unusual happened. As I mentioned, the project was small. Each tile was only 3/4 inch square and the decals were even smaller, and although it took me a matter of minutes to make a tile, I suspected the seniors would have more difficulty with the project because of its small size. They did, but instead of getting frustrated and giving up, they all concentrated harder until they mastered the technique of soaking and sliding the decals off the backer paper. While they worked, they became very quiet and focused on the task at hand, ultimately creating beautiful little works of art that they can stick to their refrigerators. Here you see a few examples of the magnets I made as prototypes for the project. I was truly impressed at some of the designs they came up with. We all had a great time.

On a semi-related note, there were several new crafters in the group that were taking my class for the very first time. Among them was the center's newest volunteer, Alan (sorry, never caught your last name) who you can see here holding the tile he created. I'd like to welcome Alan to the Dorchester Senior Center and thank him for participating in my craft class.

There's still lots of summer left and I've still got loads of crafting to get done. I'd getter get busy.

Ballo ergo sum
- Gitana, the Creative Diva