Today I want to talk about whiskers. Cat’s have whiskers that grow as wide as their bodies so I am guessing fat cats have the longest whiskers. When I was a kid I had a cat that was quite fluffy and he had very long whiskers too. This makes me wonder if cats who plump up during the winter and slim down during the summer grow new whiskers each season to adjust to their size. That’s pretty amazing if you think about it.
Did you know that whiskers have a direct connection to a cat’s sensory nerves? Whiskers help cats “see” in the dark. Their whiskers give them all sorts of information about their surroundings. Never trim your cat’s whiskers. Doing that can be quite debilitating for them.
A cat’s whiskers help them chase prey, decide if they can fit into tight spaces, and can help them determine how far to jump from one place to another. Surprisingly, whiskers can also tell you something about your cat’s mood. Whiskers that are flat against a cat’s face and point backwards indicate fear. A hunting cat will often have whiskers pointing forward. Cats can be very mysterious, but luckily we do know a few things about them!
These DIY butterfly wings are so easy to make kids can do it by themselves. All you need is one piece of poster board, scissors, yarn, a crayon, and paint. The first step is to draw wings onto the poster board using a crayon similar to the color scheme you have chosen for your wings. You can just “wing” it (pun totally intended) or you can ask a partner to help you. What we did is lie on the floor, on top of the poster board, and made an outline of our bodies. That way we knew where to start the wings and we had an appropriate sized butterfly body to work with.
Then we cut out the butterfly drawing using scissors and bent the wings so they would flare out. While we had the wings bent we cut two holes on the fold (on each side) to thread the yarn through. The yarn will tie in the front to attach the wings to our bodies. You’ll want to make sure you have the yarn from the top holes go over your your shoulders and the yarn from the bottom holes go under your arms. We crossed the yarn in the back for extra stability (as suggested by a Facebook Fan…thank you, Oh Rain!) and crossed them again in the front.
After making sure the wings would fit we took them off and my 5 year old daughter started painting. She used an old jar and a crayon to trace circles because she was inspired by the Monarch butterfly.
We used glow in the dark craft paint, but you can use any kind of paint you want. We painted both sides of the wings because both sides can be seen. It is best to use paint that doesn’t require a lot of water. The poster board will curl a little if it gets too soggy. We worked in thin layers to build up richer colors and used the paint straight out of the bottle. Once the paint dried my daughter also added some plastic self-sticking jewels because she is all about the sparkle.
Once the wings were dry we tied them back on to give them a whirl. My daughter particularly liked that she could make the wings move by pushing on them with her elbows. She could pretend she was flying!
We went to a Halloween party last weekend and she was complimented many times. She was very proud because she painted them herself.
If you have a daughter like mine who likes to combine costumes (this year she plans to be a princess catterfly (part princess, part cat, part butterfly) you can always adapt the wings to suit your purpose. If you made the tops and bottom of the wings more pointy you could have fairy wings instead. You could also shape the poster board so it looks more like angel wings and paint feathers on instead for a completely different look.
I know we are making wings for Halloween, but wings are also a wonderful addition to a trunk filled with dress up clothes. After Halloween I often pick up costumes and costume propts for pennies on the dollar to add to out pretend play collection, but it’s always more fun to make them yourself, isn’t it?
I’m killing two birds with one stone today. See what I did there? Birds…get it? Two bird paintings. OK, I’m sure you got it immediately. I’m just making sure because it often takes me all day to come up with something legitimate to say about my paintings. Well, sometimes it does. I mean, my thinking is, “I already painted them and now I have to talk about them too?”
Sometimes I just don’t have much to say about my paintings. Maybe they should all have deep, philosophical or political meanings. Maybe they should be dark and mysteriously emotional. Maybe they should be the voice of those without a voice: Each stroke of the paintbrush hidden with truth and existential crisis. Each painting carefully constructed to portray the secrets of life.
Nope, today it’s just birds. Birds I felt like painting because I like birds. Sometimes art can be that simple.
Sometimes an owl is just an owl and a tweety, yellow bird is just a tweety, yellow bird.
Sometimes there is enough meaning, deep and tragic, going on in the real world and we just need a moment to escape. A moment for fun or beauty. A moment for nature in all of its glory and simplicity. Sometimes a painting is exactly what it appears to be. A bird is just a bird.
Sometimes we just need things to be that easy.
I hope you find a few easy moments in your day today. Moments where things are exactly what they appear to be. No more and no less. Embrace the simplicity!
P.S. I haven’t been adding my paintings to the link up on Leslie Saeta’s blog because sometimes her blog is so busy I can’t get the page to load. I guess that is just a symptom of the popularity of this challenge. If you’d like to see more art from artists painting for 30 days please click on her name and take a look at all of the work being done by my fellow artists.