Word of Mind, Word of Mouth

Wonder all around us: off-beat ways to explore

Special to the CambrianJuly 15, 2013 

My mother was blessed with a son, two daughters and a tomboy. Guess which one I was? OK, still am. Conveniently, I had two sons. Dirt, tools, rough-housing were my norm growing up, through child-rearing years and to this day. Admittedly, I do not play quite the tough-guy I used to as my strength has somewhat diminished — yet I refuse to ever let anyone get the upper hand!

I’ve tossed out some art ideas for you before and here’s a few more. Granted, the first two here serve absolutely no purpose but instant gratification of some scientific proportions and visual glee but ain’t that what fun’s about some times?

Microwave a bar of Ivory Soap: My curiosity was piqued at the prospect of blowing something up, so to speak. If you have a tiny microwave like I do, use half a bar. Put it in a mid-sized microwave-safe mixing bowl. I set it for 90 seconds but I stopped it after 60 because I was impatient.

Because of all the air in this type of soap, what you’ll get is a large fluffy mass that makes the whole house (if it’s small like mine) smell all clean. Be careful, as steam will vent when you poke it, which is the only thing to do with it. Again, no use for the mass other than to smash it up and wash with it. Naturally, at the market they only came in four packs, so now I’ll put the rest around the yard to ward off deer. Supposedly.

Milk kaleidoscope: Again, science tickles my brain. Put real milk (“they” call for whole milk, but I used fat-free and it still worked) in a shallow bowl or dish. Gently drop five to six drops of food coloring into milk. Now the fun part: get a cotton swab and dip it into dish soap. Now dip it into the milk. Alternately, you can gently drop one or two drops of soap directly from the bottle into the milk.

As the soap breaks up the surface tension created by the fat in the milk, the colors create a small aurora borealis right before your eyes. You can experiment with poking the swab in again with more soap until it turns muddy. Then, just watch as it continues to swirl and evolve. Very groovy.

Bubble paint: This is a fun way to make decorated paper for collages, thank you notes and whatever. It’s best to use tempera paint, something with substance, but food coloring will work in a pinch. Put a small glob of paint or several drops of food coloring into a shallow bowl or pan. Put an equal amount of liquid soap into it. Now add water — kind of guess, adding slowly, to make a one-quarter cup or so, total.

Now, the messy part, the part where you get to defy all your mother ever taught you about not playing with your food: take a drinking straw and gently blow into the liquid, like you used to blow milk bubbles, right? (Oooo, did I try this with the milk kaleidoscope? Not yet!)

Take a piece of white paper and slowly lower it onto the bubbles. As they pop, they leave the most delightful pattern. Use a different bowl for different colors and layer the bubble images to create a masterpiece!  Let dry and continue to create!

Well, the house smells good, my fingers are dyed green and I’m in a better mood. Before summer is out, making ice cream in a bag and other adult- and child-friendly recipes!

Dianne Brooke’s column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at tiedi@att.net, or visit her website at www.ladytiedi.com.

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