Monday, August 10, 2015

Preparing For The Second Seniors Crafting Class

The first crafting class I taught at the assisted living home last month was, to put it kindly, a learning experience for me as this was my first time being the teacher. Considering that none of them had ever done paint crafting, especially with Pennsylvania Dutch designs, I learned a lot. Besides age, hands in your 70's and 80's can be very shaky. At 69 there are times I can't do what I did even 10 years ago. So there is no shame in that. I stressed and showed each student how to hold their projects to minimize the shaking. Realizing that I set the bar too high for a neophyte crowd, I quickly decided the next project would be much, much simpler.
Beginning pot, first design and the final design
I was given a bunch of plastic flower pots, pots that once housed orchids, to use. Mostly in a dark chocolate color, I created a plaid design in three colors with one of the colors used for the lip on top of the pot. For a bit of color I added a bright green dot in each plaid square to compliment the cream and red stripes. Four white daisies were added on top of the plaid for a bit more design.

The more I looked at it, I realized that while they might be able to do the vertical stripes, going around the entire pot horizontally would be a challenge. Heavens, it was a challenge for me! I didn't worry about the daisies as we had practiced, and would again practice, the press, drag and lift of the petals. They all more or less mastered that when I taught them last month. I felt this design was still too hard. So I thought it over again sketching ideas on paper before grabbing a pot to paint.

The Second Crafting Project
I created the final design with 8 simple stripes that could all be the same color or alternated, a series of dots doing down each row in either single or double pairs using the end of their brush and then painting the top lip. Once that had dried I would mark the circles for the daisies would go in. When finished they would have a cute pot they could keep or give as a gift.

If they wanted to continue, once the painting was done, dried and probably varnished so the paint would not easily scratch off, we could push in florist foam, add a fake flower and clean that up with  moss. Again they would have a wonderful room decoration or have created a gift for a loved one.

Actually the sample in the photo above and to the right as well is the third sample. The second one was taken from the activity room! I guess they liked it and didn't want to wait to create their own.

I used rather "bright" colors and plan to encourage my class to do the same thing. Other than using a color that will stand out from the dark background, they can use any colors they like. This will make it a lot more personal, something that I want to encourage. We will see how it goes in a few days!

If you are looking for something to decorate for a gift and have a spouse or friend with a green thumb, you might find pots the they discard are suitable. If not, they are easy to find at most stores that sell gardening supplies and even crafting stores sell pots. Clay pots especially have to be very clean and dry before using.

If you use a clay pot, I would recommend an acrylic sealer to hold and keep the paint on the pot. DecoArt, Plaid and other companies sell what they call "patio paints" that are acrylic with easy water clean up of brushes and hands. I don't know if they are really any better than standard acrylics paints. I would think using a sealer and finishing with a coat or two of acrylic varnish, any acrylic paint would do just fine. The secret is to make sure each coat is dry before moving on. Sealer, let it dry, decoration acrylic make sure it is very dry and finally varnish, make sure that is dry. If you are using a pot for real plants an extra coat of varnish can't hurt.

Thank you for reading my blog. There are many more and I encourage you to check them as well. Comments are always welcome and ideas for new ones entertained.

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