Tag Archives: art

Hungry for a snack? How about some popcorn art?

You may have noticed I didn’t do a WWW Wednesdays update yesterday. There’s a simple reason for it. I’m still reading the same book and I feel like the slowest reader on the planet right now. I’ve been going to bed so late every night recently (a terrible habit to start), I just want to turn off the light and go to sleep when I get there.

If you enjoyed my recent post of food art and it left you hungry for more, don’t despair. I have just the right fix for you. Have you ever made popcorn at home? Have you ever looked at those popped kernels before you shoved them down your throat nibbled on them while watching a movie?

Believe it or not, all these corn kernels pop in different ways and if you look at them carefully, you may recognize some familiar shapes in them. If you’ve ever looked for shapes in the clouds the same way I love to, you may enjoy this game a lot the next time you make some popcorn yourself. Just make sure you pick through your own bowl only, not your neighbor’s. I know, it’s tempting when you’re searching for shapes…

Here are a few shapes my kids and I recently spotted while snacking on popcorn. For the visually / spatially / creatively impaired (pick one, you know who you are!), I added some visual clues thanks to Photoshop’s paint brush, so you can see what we saw.

Ready to play the game? Here we go! Scroll down slowly so you can guess. No cheating!

Can you guess what this shape is? I’ll give you a clue. It’s an animal that walks very slowly.

Popcorn art - guessing the shape in the popcorn kernel

Popcorn art – guessing the shape in the popcorn kernel

It’s a turtle! Don’t believe me? See it for yourself.

Popcorn art - a turtle

Popcorn art – a turtle

Don’t despair if you didn’t get it, it takes some practice. Now that you understand how to play the game, let’s continue, shall we? I’m not going to give you a hint for this one because it’s easy to guess, but I’ll tell you a lot of kernels pop this way.

Popcorn art - each kernel pops differently

Popcorn art – each kernel pops differently

Alright, just in case you couldn’t figure out, here’s the answer: it’s an octopus.

Popcorn art - an octopus

Popcorn art – an octopus

The next shape is a little similar to the previous one, at least when it comes to the number of limbs. This is the only clue you’ll get from me.

Popcorn art- seeing animal shapes

Popcorn art- seeing animal shapes

If you said spider, you’re right!

Popcorn art - spider

Popcorn art – spider

Alright, now that you’re warmed up, here is a more difficult one. This animal also “walks” very slowly.

Popcorn art - finding shapes in popcorn

Popcorn art – finding shapes in popcorn

It was a little harder but if you said snail, you’re really good at this game.

Popcorn art - snail

Popcorn art – snail

Here’s the last popcorn kernel for you to guess. It’s often described as a loyal animal.

Popcorn art - seeing animal shapes in popcorn kernels

Popcorn art – seeing animal shapes in popcorn kernels

If you guessed dog, give yourself a cookie!

Popcorn art - dog

Popcorn art – dog

How did you like this game? Will you give it a try next time you have popcorn? It’s fun playing with food, believe me.

By the way, if you want to take photos of your popcorn art and you’re smarter than me, you’ll want to put your kernel shapes on black or colored paper, so they stand out from the background. Just saying…

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Purple

How did the WordPress people know my favorite color is purple? OK, technically it’s not purple but lilac, or lavender. And pink. And blue. Many shades of blue.

But I’ve found out over the years that most Americans are not very discriminative when it comes to colors. Growing up in the land of Renoir and Monet, I learned early on the colors of my paint tubes in the school’s art class: ochre, vermillion, fuchsia, azure, café au lait… And “bordeaux” for maroon, because “marron” means chestnut in French, since chestnuts are indeed brown. And that was just one hour of art class every week. But let me get back on track before I start ranting about the disappearance of art from our school system, or our kids’ preference for video games over art history.

I love purple and its various shades. It’s a bold, proud color that screams, look at me! And I love taking pictures of purple things because they stand out so much from their background.

Take a look at the photos below and tell me what you think. I’d also love to hear what your favorite color is and why.

Here’s a photo of my favorite tree in San Diego, called the jaracanda. It only blooms for a couple of months a year (May and June) and it’s a delight to see the purple bursts throughout the landscape. I still have to find a tree with a nice setting around it to take a great picture, but I wanted to share this sight because it’s quite a treat.

Wordpress weekly photo challenge: Purple - Jacaranda tree in San Diego

WordPress weekly photo challenge: Purple – Jacaranda tree in San Diego

Here’s a photo of a local lilac tree called the Ramona lilac. Unfortunately it doesn’t smell anything like the common lilac but it still features beautiful blooms in the spring.

Purple lilac - Ramona lilac photo in San Diego

Purple lilac – Ramona lilac photo in San Diego

During our vacation in Idyllwild, I spotted a few wildflowers and these really stood out. I have no idea what they are called (if you know, please share), but I love their shape and color.

California purple wildflowers photo

California purple wildflowers photo

Finally, I know I used this photo of a lupine in a previous WordPress weekly photo challenge, but it’s very purple and fits right into this post too.

Photo of purple lupine in San Diego

Photo of purple lupine in San Diego

Better than the face of Jesus on toast

Since it’s casual Friday, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some funny thoughts and sightings with you. I shared my son’s amazing discovery earlier this week on my Every Day I See a Cow blog, but what good does it do you if you’re not a subscriber? So here we go…

I like to see myself as a creative person. I write, I draw, I paint, I make things with my hands, and as a the queen of klutz I sometimes manage to create art out of my misadventures (remember the yogurt bunny I made almost a year ago?). On the carpet of course, not the easier-to-clean tile.

Yogurt bunny

Yogurt bunny

I like to look at clouds in the sky and see funny shapes. Sometimes I even manage to take pictures of them.

Elephant cloud

Elephant cloud

For those of you who can’t see it, this cloud is shaped like an elephant head. Yes, it is! Lots of spring clouds in San Diego happen to take the shape of elephants, with long trunks. I’m not sure why but I’m not complaining!

My kids seem to take after my creative side, especially when it comes to creating art with food. Their favorite art supplies? Tomato sauce and blueberries, of course. They always manage to create permanent stains masterpieces on their clothing when eating painting with them. Just kidding. My oldest drew his first fruit bowl a couple of months ago, before he turned five. This was a completely unsolicited creation that blew my mind away. You can guess the kid is half-French (ha!). I’d like to add he’s a fan of Paul Cézanne but I don’t believe he saw any of the famous painter’s fruit bowl masterpieces before he drew this one.

Children's artwork - fruit bowl

Children's artwork - fruit bowl

Something wonderful about my son is that he’s highly observant, able to notice things about his surroundings most kids and adults would never see, even if you pointed them in the right direction. Earlier this week, he made his most amazing discovery yet. Can you tell I’m beaming with pride? Wait till you see what it is. We stopped by Panda Express for lunch and at my kids’ request, one of the items we ordered was orange chicken. I’m not sure about the nutritional value of our choice, but the sweet tangy taste is irresistible.

Halfway through our meal, my oldest blurted out: There’s a pig on my plate! I felt the urge to correct him right away, tell him he was eating chicken. But he seemed so insistent to show me, I had to look. So I turned his plate my way and that’s when my jaw dropped. There was a darn pig on his plate, made out of orange chicken. Here it is, in all of its cuteness!

Orange chicken pig at Panda Express

Orange chicken pig at Panda Express

You may disagree but I think it resembles a pig a lot more than all of the Jesus faces people claim they see on their toast and sell on ebay for a fortune. Unfortunately I don’t believe there’s any story about a holy pig anywhere so this pig wouldn’t have been our “get-rich-quick” scheme. So we did the next best thing. We ate it and it tasted delicious!

Jigsaw puzzles and genetics: nature versus nurture

Children and jisaw puzzles

Children and jisaw puzzles

I’ve been pondering this question for a while, so if you have children, I’d love you to share your input. Do you think most of our talents are inherited through our parents’ genes, or are they acquired through nurturing and practice?

Here’s a perfect example of this issue at our house:

– I (the mother) have always loved doing jigsaw puzzles since I was a little kid. If I had lots of time to do anything I want, I could spend several hours a day working on a giant puzzle. The largest puzzle I’ve ever made was 2000 pieces but I’m sure I could go for larger.

– My husband (the father) is far from a puzzle master. He clearly doesn’t like doing puzzles, and when he helps out the kids, I’m actually not sure who’s helping who the most.

– My oldest, who’s almost five, is a little like his dad. He enjoys doing puzzles more than him but sometimes struggles and his frustration can make him abandon his project before completion. With a little encouragement, he can usually get the puzzle done (we’re talking about 48 pieces here).

– My youngest, who’s just over three, is a puzzle wizard. Give him a 48-piece puzzle, provide a little assistance, and he’s done within 5 to 10 minutes. After he’s done the same puzzle a few times, he can do it all by himself and won’t even look at the original image to put it together. He clearly has great visual memory and well-developed spatial intelligence.

Because of my husband’s puzzle-making limited abilities, I’ve always been the one encouraging the kids to do puzzles, guiding them through the building process. I don’t believe I’ve spent more time with my youngest than my oldest doing puzzles. If anything, it’s been the opposite since my oldest is the one who struggles.

So why is it that my youngest can complete a puzzle faster than his older brother? Shouldn’t it be the opposite because of the age difference? Did I pass on the full “puzzle gene” to one kid, but only half of it to the other? Nature versus nurture is the age-old question, even when it comes down to jigsaw puzzles. Well, not just puzzles, since the question can extend to music, art, sports, etc.

Do you think you have passed on some talent genes to your kids and they have developed specific affinities because of their genetic predisposition? Or do you think they’re just good at something because they get to spend a lot of time practicing?

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