All posts by Lillian Connelly

Dead Sounds So Boring

Wearing a cloth mask during the coronavirus pandemic.
Cloth mask

The other day my, very precocious, four year old daughter said, “Dead sounds so boring.” That’s when I realized her little ears may have been listening to our chatter about the Coronavirus more than we realized. It’s been nearly impossible to have many adult conversations lately because we are all home together. Neither of my kids have seen their friends, been to the park, or eaten in a restaurant for months. We have high risk people in our home so we are all being extra careful.

We don’t want to scare the kids with too much information, but we don’t want to scare the kids with too little information either. When this first started my oldest daughter cried and cried as she worried about babies and grandparents dying at unprecedented numbers. Her friends were playing “Coronavirus” at school and she was worried.

At the time we thought the virus wasn’t a big deal and our government would stop it in its tracks. When I think about that now it’s hard to believe we ever had that much faith in our government. We’ve never lived through anything like this, so in some ways it seemed impossible it would ever get this bad. We comforted our daughter and told her everything was going to be OK and we believed that to be true. Eventually school was cancelled for the year and our entire country shut down. My husband and I looked at each other and feared our daughter’s premonition may turn out to be true. This virus was much worse than we had anticipated.

We told the kids what we knew about the virus and watched and waited. Every few weeks we’d remind them that no, we couldn’t go to McDonald’s yet, and no, we can’t go play at your friends house, and no, school is still out until next year. They seemed satisfied with these answers, but occasionally would test us to see if anything had changed. They watched me make masks for family and friends. They played school and doctor, and watched movies. They made art projects and roasted marshmallows and fought like sister do.

As time went on we read more and more news, a habit that has been hard to set aside, and my husband and I found ourselves discussing politics, mask wearing, and the death toll on a daily basis. Before we knew it, the kids were in the room while we exclaimed things at each other in frustration. We’ve had discussions about money, and job losses, and whether or not the mortgage company was going to give us a grace period. We’ve talked about wills, cleaning supplies, and whether or not to take certain vitamins. We’ve whispered about friends and family members struggling to overcome Covid-19. We’ve waited anxiously, and had some sleepless nights, wondering if anyone we loved would be the next to die. Our kids witnessed more of this than we realized.

We’ve walked a fine line between wanting the kids to be informed and empowered, while also protecting them from gruesome details and the blatant cruelty we were witnessing. The kids attention is directed to the helpers and we remind them that this won’t last forever. Nothing lasts forever.

One day a week the kids leave the house to meet our librarian on the the library lawn. She hands out free books and take-home craft projects. This has become our new summer reading program. Then we drive around town for a while and watch other people go about their daily business. The kids wear masks and we praise them for doing their part to protect others from invisible germs.

We encourage civic duty, upholding social contracts, and the importance of taking care of one another. When I lament I may not be doing enough to help, my oldest often reminds me, “Staying home is the best way to fight the virus, Mom.” We want them to experience the commitment to community required to remain separated from our friends and in our own homes. We want them to know that we make these sacrifices out of love and for the deep respect we have for life.

Perhaps we’ve included them in the conversation a little too much, but perhaps not. This is a pandemic and it is serious. People are dying and this is going to be a big part of their childhood history. I don’t want them to be completely naive about what is happening. I want them to have the sense of pride that comes with giving things up for the larger community.

Around age four kids begin to grasp the finality of death. Last year our cat died. My four year old realized then that dead meant you were never coming back. She’s recently realized that dead also means you can’t eat ice cream or play dolls. You can’t color or swim. You can’t sleep in your own bed or sit by a fire and lick chocolate off your fingers. You can’t hug someone or tell them you love them. You can’t collect bugs, jump on trampolines, or bake brownies anymore either.

She’s wearing a mask because, “Dead sounds so boring.” It’s not because she is afraid. She just wants you to stay alive so we can all keep having fun together.

When she grows up she will tell her kids that she had to stay home for months with her family. She will tell them that anytime she left the house she wore a mask. When her kids ask why I am sure she will explain how the virus was contagious, but I also hope she tells them that we all wore masks during the Coronavirus pandemic to demonstrate how much we loved each other.

Alcohol Ink Glass Pendant Demonstration

Alcohol Ink Glass Pendant Demo
Alcohol Ink Glass Pendant Demo

Alcohol Ink is a fun medium to work with. I’ve been making jewelry by painting alcohol ink onto glass pendants. Once the ink is dry I glue it to card stock, seal up the back, and turn it into jewelry using various jewelry findings. I’ve posted a video on YouTube showing the process. The title of the video is: Alcohol Ink Glass Pendant Demo.

The Directions

For the first step I usually paint something using masking fluid on the back of the glass piece. This is the design element I want to keep free of ink. I’ve painted a tree on a hillside, a dragon fly, a cat, and a mountain scene in the video above.

Next, once that dries, I add the alcohol ink. The rubbing alcohol can be used to clean your paint brush, to move the ink around, thinning it, or making shapes in the ink.

After the back of the glass is covered in ink, I remove the masking fluid. Then I may go back in with my paintbrush and add some details. It’s best to keep the ink as dry as possible while doing this, otherwise your design may run.

The ink will dry quickly. Then, using the diamond glaze, I will glue the glass pieces to white card stock. I let the glaze dry and then paint the back and side of the glass with more diamond glaze to seal the piece. This make it water resistant by protecting the paper backing.

Once the glaze is completely dry I will use the e6000 glue to attach findings or to glue the glass into a cabochon. This dries quickly into a strong, rubbery attachment. It has a strong odor so please use the glue in a well ventilated area.

If you’d like to try making an alcohol ink glass pendant necklace check out the supply list below.

The Supply List

Alcohol Inks

Glass Pendants with Cabochon

Rubbing Alcohol

Masking Fluid

Diamond Glaze

e6000 Glue

You will also need bright white card stock and paint brushes.

Thank you for watching my Alcohol Ink Glass Pendant Demonstration. If you have any questions please leave a comment. I hope you have fun painting! Please subscribe to my YouTube channel if you enjoy watching art tutorials and funny family videos. Check out my other alcohol ink paintings here.

*I am an Amazon Affiliate. If you click any of the links above and make a purchase I will earn a small percentage of the sale. This helps me keep my blog running. Thank you for your support!

DIY Painted Cat T-Shirt Tutorial

My daughter is obsessed with cats. She will only wear cat clothes. As a result, she asks to wear a cat shirt or cat dress and cat leggings every single day. The only alternative she deems acceptable is leopard print. Leopard print is her new neutral. Who knew Leopard print would be such a big deal with the preschool crowd? Three year old girls are fashion gurus. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

The problem is we only have a few items of clothing with cats on them. We didn’t know the cat-clothing-catastrophe would descend upon us so quickly. I can’t keep up with her daily demand because laundry doesn’t happen by fairies. I do the laundry. It’s me! Only me. Why can’t there be laundry fairies? Why? I needed a solution that allowed me to completely embrace my laundry procrastinating ways! I had to find an inexpensive way to expand our cat clothing collection. My budget conscious wheels were turning.

I bought a pack of Hanes boys t-shirts, some acrylic craft paint, and got to work (I am an Amazon Affiliate. Clicking theses links will take you to Amazon where you can quickly purchase the items you need to start painting). You can watch my DIY Painted Cat T-Shirt tutorial below.

DIY Painted Cat T-Shirt Instructions

Step 1: Put a piece of cardboard inside the shirt so your design stays on the front. You can paint the back after the front has dried.

Step 2: Water the acrylic paint down until it is a thin liquid. This helps the fabric fibers absorb the color. If the paint goes on too thickly it may come off in the wash.

Step 3: Paint a simple cat outline. Or any other animal your child is currently obsessed with. Then let the outline dry.

Step 4: Fill in your cat with paint. Choose colors wisely because they do tend to bleed into each other a little. So think blue and yellow so if the colors mix you have some green. Red and yellow gives you orange. Colors on the opposite sides of a color wheel will give you a brown or gray.

Step 5: After your cat is mostly dry begin painting the background. Once the front is dry, flip it over and paint the back of your shirt. Let it dry completely.

Step 6: Wash it in cold water and tumble dry on low. You may see some fading similar to tie-dye over time.

Step 7: This step is for the kids. Grownups should close their eyes so they don’t become alarmed. Kids, wear your cat shirt daily so your parent has to do laundry every single day…or they break down and makes you many more shirts. The more the merrier, right?

Or just go full on leopard print because you only live once!