Monthly Archives: August 2013

The end of summer, the last August paintout!

Slide1We went to a new, OLD place. The historic Herb Garden Society in Lake County turned out to be a very charming building.

Slide3Several OLD members came too. Besides BettyL and BettyMc (post knee surgery), Suzette, and me, Nancy B and not one, but two Toni’s, ToniF and ToniR surprised us. Slide4

This gorgeous stone building was built in the 1800′s and there was an addition made later on. You could see the difference in the stonework. It now houses the Herb Society and the plants around the building were herbs and flowers, all neatly labeled of course.

We produced some nice work for the end of summer. The leaves out there started to turn red already - I guess since it has been pretty dry lately.Slide5

Garden Plein air parties can be productive

Slide2The players (artists) were Roz, BettyMc, Toni, May, BettyL, myself and a few of BettyMc’s neighbors came to paint but left early.


The flowers around in he garden and those hand-picked, plus the outside porch (in the sun) were our subjects. And we chatted a lot about many other subjects that didn’t include a lot of art. Slide1

We were thrilled to be at BettyMc’s because she just had knee surgery and couldn’t drive, so we have missed her this summer at our paintouts.

We also brought  bag lunches, Penni attempted to brew ice tea quickly, and Toni brought home-made banana bread plus we also had blueberry muffins. So we nourished our bodies as we nurtured our artwork too. It is a fabulous way to spend a day, and we feel  sorry for people who do not have art in their own lives.

Bubbling over with kids, brought joy to the day!

Slide1This week I had an opportunity to teach and perform Bubbi-ology with the daycare center with toddlers through school-agers whom attend in the summer months. I had to cover their faces to protect the kids, but you can imagine when they finally yelled “I did it!” how wonderfully fabulous their smiles brought bigger smiles on mine and all of the teachers faces too.

Slide5A little Joy or Dawn in some water and some thoughtful, recycled materials can bring joy to the faces of the kids who learn quickly that pulling bubble film can bring giggles and big smiles on everyone’s faces.

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Cleveland Plein Air Painters at work

Slide1Two lovely Mondays, one at Dunham Tavern Museum, a historical place near downtown Cleveland, and one spent in my neighbor Carol’s yard painting her garden.Slide2

At Dunham Tavern, a new gentleman joined Betty, Sharon, Paulette and me but I do not remember his name. We also met Mitzie whom after getting lost, joined us and was a great help at the end with our quick critique. At Carols, Suzette came and sketched all the beautiful flowers for her sculptured jewelry designs. What a way to spend a summer day in Ohio! Wasn’t too hot or too humid so we enjoyed the days.


Thanks to Mitzie, I went and bought myself an Android 9 inch tablet (right now on sale with free shipping at I want to do some painting and drawing on it. I would love to know if anyone has some good art apps. Please email me at Thanks, Penni


Little Critters with little kids!

Slide3The daycare center where I create my WONDERlabs had me come and do something special for their summer programs. We started out by singing “I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly” (perhaps she’ll “cry!”) and then reading “The Hungry Caterpillar”.

Slide2Then I introduced them to the “metamorphosis process of frogs and butterflies.” I shared my 2 little special puppets one becomes a frog and the other a butterfly. Handing them lots of small plastic models of frogs, I asked them to sort them onto colored lily pads. After they accomplished that, I switched and asked them to classify the frogs by stripes and sSlide2pots. I even taught the kids how to speak “frog!” They do not just say ribbit, some say “mashed potatoes, mashed potatoes” or “lick ‘em up, lick ‘em up” and some say “peep peep”. Our frog pond was orchestrated but unusaully loud!

With the preschoolers and school agers, I gave them the template that I invented to show how the tadpole changes into a frog. It was great watching as they practiced making the back legs come out and it was a pleasure to see their minds at work. Slide1

After frogs, we checked out the stripes and spots on the butterfly models and sorted them and matched them. With the toddlers, we made butterflies and I shared charts and posters showing them how symmetrical the wings are using the stripes and spots. They were interested in looking through my books and seeing the little models. Slide4

All the kids, even the school agers, enjoyed their experience with a pretty sophisticated concept. Breaking it up into matching, sorting and classifying (using tools like tongs) helped them make the connections. I also had the older kids try to follow a pattern to cut out symmetrical butterfly shapes and then do crayon rubbings.

Slide3With special pasta, the older kids created a metamorphic plate showing the eggs (diti something pasta), the caterpillar (curly colored pasta), the chrysalis (small shell pasta) and the butterfly (colored bowtie pasta).

We did lots of art projects and they got to classify, sort and match the critters. The toddler and preschool teachers enjoyed seeing the kids so engaged.

The Sea as an artform, a WONDERlab I created for kids!

Slide1The last week in July, I created a hands-on lab for children 3-8 yrs old. The theme was – “See the Sea Life” and their job was to come into the room, not as a person, but as an animal. There were stations and exhibits for every animal in the ocean. So all the oceanographers had plenty to discover. Slide2

They each picked a stuffed animal to represent and were told to go explore the sea life around the room. The various artifacts and specimens were so exciting and the place was filled with curiosity. Tools, like tongs, magnifying glasses, rulers and scales were all big hits.

Slide4Whales and shark models dressed the first tables when they walked in. Their job was to measure and sequence the whale samples, plus match the babies with their mothers. In the dangerous shark infested waters, I placed a mirror in back of a real shark jaw so they could see themselves in the mouth! I hid little sharks inside of  a big-mouthed shark and dared them to put their hand in and capture a shark. Reference books were around on every table for identification.Slide5Slide8Slide3

Fish and other sea animals adorned several other areas, as well as a coral reef with textures to create rubbings to reproduce. They could touch and feel the textures of a wide variety of coral samples.

One of the concepts was that there are bottom dwellers, swimmers and air breathers. another was that there are warm and cold oceans and the animals live in different oceans. I did have a map to show them the oceans near and around North America.

The back or the room had two dig sites, one was sharks teeth in sand with sand sifters, to compare. The way scientists identify sharks is by their teeth. teeth are either straight or bent and they have saw teeth on the side or not have any. The other was a water table with sea shells to gather in bucket with a little fish net.

On the shell table, I separated the univalve gastropods from the bivalve, mollusks. The children could sort through them and classify them using the charts and posters that I provided, plus the little guide reference books and a set of Seashell playing cards that they could sort and group. Slide10 Slide13

I had star fish on trays to look at and for the older kids, I introduced radial art for them to design using five sections. There was also paint on the table to blow through a straw and create seaweed.

The last table (in the U-shaped exhibit area), I had sand dollars and sponge samples to check out. I had also put some sea shell and coral fossils and created a little research lab (see below) with lab coats and tools, and loads of sea animals to look at and identify. By the way, in the center I laid blue blankets and had huge stuffed animals to lay on to read the books I had on a display stand.Slide9

On a side table I had a polar region with sea lions, seals, penguins and walrus samples. Plastic bowls were my ice burg and they could put the animals on the mounds after weighing them on a balance scale using tongs. Slide15

Slide7For those who do not know my educational philosophy, I have discovered that successful adults found their vocational interests at age seven. So I am determined to get the sciences into kids at early ages. My WONDERlabs contain Science, Art, Math and Music (S.A.M.M.) I have spent 40 years teaching and training teachers across the country on creating learning labs that entice kids to explore, I use “stuff” stimulating tools, useful for fun and fundamentals.  I am working on a book called “Connec-Table Science” compiling all of the creative learning centers I have created oveer the years. Please pass this on to any teachers that you know to see how I use materials to excite kids curiosity.

Designing Diva’s Camp for girls from 10-14 years of age.

Slide1Have not had time to paint these past few weeks and this is one of my special jobs I completed this summer. The Mayor of a City here outside of Cleveland, asked me to design something for girls.

So I figured they would enjoy making things for their rooms like frames and mirrors, jewels and jewelry boxes. We created  fashion boards using scrapbook paper and magazines. Slide4 Slide5

I covered their faces because I do not have permission to use them, but here they are very proud of their work they created all week.

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FYI- They did load their projects up with pounds of glitter and pretty rhinestones, plus we did do some fabric work, creating bags and shirts using permanent paints and markers. We had a good time and they all took home fabulous items they could wear or even give as gifts.

Hopefully, I turned them on to doing their own crafts more giving them to tools and rules to create things.