Joan’s Revenge

Posted by laura on Aug 12 2009 | Fun, Holiday, Making, Uncategorized

Back in Needham a couple weeks ago, my cousin Eileen pulled me aside. “I have to tell you,” she murmured, “we have issues with your neighbor Joan.”

It all came down to the ridiculously lovely birthday party Joan put together back in June for her daughter, in which she combined readily accessible decorative materials to great effect. As much as I empathized with the response, I wasn’t buying it. After all, this was a teacher talking, and I’ve been in her classroom. I’ve also been in her house where they do things like make their own maple syrup, but that’s a story for another pancake.

Let’s just say, this post is aptly named, as it will describe an afternoon at Eileen’s home. We were invited over for an art day, and after playing in the back yard and having the most incredible home-made pizza for lunch (thank you, Kevin), the kids dove into these projects:

Colored Rice

I’d never seen this one before – what a cool idea. The kids each had cups of raw rice with a little vinegar added to help the coloring, and they were able to mix in food coloring to make the rice whatever colors they liked.


The end result looked like this:


photo by Eileen

photo by Eileen

In the end, the tray reminded me of a quilt. My understanding is that then you bake the rice for a while to fix the colors, but then do you need to boil it? Eileen, you’ll have to fill us in – how did the rice turn out in the end?

Paper Stained Glass

Next up, the kids each made a paper stained glass window project. Each one had a sheet of contact paper taped sticky-side up to the table. There were piles of tissue paper scraps, and they arranged the colored tissue into designs on the contact paper.


When each design was complete, a second sheet of contact paper was smoothed on top with awe inspiring finesse by the parents. Check out the finished windows:


I loved how some of them looked like a gust of wind had just lofted the colors into a swirl. Beautiful.

Foamy Thing Sculptures

Ok they’re called Nuudles – it took me a couple searches to work that one out. They’re cornstarch-based noodles that look a little like packing peanuts, but they’re biodegradable, and if you moisten them they stick together to make cool sculptures. Here’s what ours looked like:

photo by Eileen

photo by Eileen


Yes, they even got to make necklaces, but I won’t show you any photos of that because I’m afraid your heads might explode. Talk about taking it up a notch, eh??? I can hardly wait to see the expression on my kids’ faces the next time they want to be all creative and I pull out our sorry mixed up box of crayons. Let’s see who has issues now!

In all seriousness, though – thank you Eileen and Kevin for such a terrific, happy day at your house. We had a fantastic time. And I’m very sorry for not getting your car seat back to you before your trip up to the amusement park. We were having too much fun joyriding around Needham with it.

3 comments for now

3 Responses to “Joan’s Revenge”

  1. I truly hope that some of the aforementioned come forward an own up their extreme craftiness.

    13 Aug 2009 at 12:41 pm

  2. Eileen


    We had a great day with you and the kids! Our kids can’t wait for next summer and your visit to Needham. Kevin was a bit upset that his Nuudle project wasn’t mentioned. He is working in the basement on a new design in preparation for next year!

    Oh, Kevin and I decided you must visit in March for Maple Sugaring in our backyard. We will serve pancakes!

    Please tell Joan the East Coast is still talking about how creative and talented she is. Can’t wait to meet her!


    18 Aug 2009 at 3:44 pm

  3. laura

    Please give Kevin my apologies for not highlighting his magnificent Nuudle mansion – I wasn’t able to complete the photo permissions application on time and you know how aggressive his lawyers are.

    Sign me UP for the maple sugaring in March… I’m still dreaming about that delicious taste of maple syrup I had in your kitchen in July. So so good.

    We miss you guys!
    love, laura

    19 Aug 2009 at 7:40 am

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