Thursday, March 25, 2010

Show and Tell: Sand and Time

If anyone was looking for me sometime in the last couple of weeks (ha! like anyone would), my apologies, but I was wholly swallowed by preparations for and after-care of one little girl's way too many birthday parties. (Plus, a cool school-related project. Not material to today's post, though hopefully to be expounded upon tomorrow.)

This year, we are apparently going for a new record on the number of times one can celebrate a birthday. For the last two years Monkey has already had two kid parties-- one for classmates, and one for kids of our friends, the ones she grew up with and still hangs with a lot. Think of them as an unusually large bunch of cousins. Separate because I could never find a place that would accommodate that many kids all at once. This year a third kid party made its debut-- one for the girls of Monkey's gymnastics team.

She lucked out with that one-- envisioned as a karaoke party (because she wanted one, and because we figured the team was just small enough to fit here, unlike the contingents of either of the remaining parties), it turned into a mostly outdoor party thanks to a rather atypical patch of weather. A first for Monkey, and a big hit all around. Her class party was actually on a weekday, brought to all of us by the parent-teacher conferences and the attendant lack of classes. It went surprisingly well, and I might just bookmark those spring conferences as good days to keep track of for possible future birthday parties. The last of the kid parties is next weekend, but that is not the point here.

The point is that with all this crazy, I just couldn't bring myself to consider making the little bags'o'crap (aka the goody bags) that are such an integral part of kid birthday celebrations. In this country, that is-- we never had these in the Old Country, and we all turned out just fine. For a wide range of the values of just fine of course. So goody bags. Couldn't hack them. Came up with a brilliant idea to do a craft, and for that to be their goody bag. Hence, it had to come out looking nice and be somewhat useful. And I really didn't need it to break the bank.

Somehow I hit upon the idea of doing mosaics (getting a kit for someone else's birthday and seeing all the things you could buy piecemeal didn't have anything to do with this, I am sure). Shouldn't take too long, reasoned I. Doesn't look too messy at the design/tile gluing stage-- a definite plus. And of course, I wasn't about to let any of them near the grouting.


You know grout, yes? It is this sandy stuff that you mix with water until it's a fairly thick paste. You grout around, say kitchen tiles you install, that I knew. But it turns out you also grout to fill space between the pieces of glass and plastic that constitute your mosaic design. Then you wait a bit and sponge (or scrape with some serious effort; either way, you know) off the excess grout.

So some kids in the class didn't want to make one. And some kids at the gymnastics party wanted to make two. Altogether, that left me with 30 pieces to grout. Various number of tiles involved. Some very symmetrical and evenly spaced and all kinds of thought out. Others-- less so.

The thing I failed to consider when embarking on this ever-so-clever no goodie bag path? Time. it would take to finish 30 projects. And let me tell you, it took hours and hours. And hours. Many-many hours. But last night the last batch was drying, and today almost all of them went home. Like ET, but with far less drama.


But nu? They come out pretty, yes?

This post is part of Mel's Show and Tell for the week. To see what the cool kids are showing, click on over!