Friday, July 24, 2009

Da Count -Big Orange Splots

One of my favorite children's books, which I always enjoyed reading with my kids, was The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater. If you are not familiar with it, get thee to a library and check it out. It is wonderful. It;s about Mr. Plumbean, who lives on a neat street where all the houses are the same. One day a seagull flies over his house and spills a can of orange paint on Mr. Plumbean's roof. The neighbors are in an uproar because the neighborhood is no longer neat. they implore Mr. Plumbean to do something about this problem assuming he will conform to the old pattern. Instead he preserves the big orange splot and paints the rest of his house in wild colors and patterns. He also includes elephants, pretty girls, and steam shovels. When the neighbors express their outrage his defense is, "My house is me, and I am it. It looks like all of my dreams." One by one, Plumbean's neighbors begin to convert their houses into their own dreams as respect for creativity and individuality spreads. They discard the notion of a neat street and find community in the idea that, "Our street is us and we are it. It looks like all of our dreams."

Yesterday's craft project was to make a log cabin bank out of a Chinese take out box. One helper covered them all in brown paper for me. Another helper made a sample. We put out the boxes, a bunch of construction paper and markers, and some glue and scissors. I told the kids they could make their bank houses any way they wanted. I absolutely loved watching the different ideas they all had.


One fellow's dreams didn't consist so much of a house as a fortress. (And check out the hairstyle he sported for crazy hair day and mismatch day. Rock on!)

For some people, their dreams included trees, shutters, and pets they could indulge.

For some, the dreams include sliding boards that start at the roof. I hope he invites me to visit someday.

Just being allowed to work on your own dreams is a cause to smile.

And then there are a these girls who have dreams of books so they didn't make houses at all. One made a library, the other made her own Border's Store. They are girls after my own heart. Oh, and the newest Borders franchise owner has much more fun making funny faces when she is asked to smile and show what makes her happy about her house. Rock on, girlfriends!
When I planned this craft I have to admit, I only had vague notions of 50 little log cabins. Mind you I never require conformity in my craft projects. I just didn't imagine so many kids would go so far from the cabin idea and add so many other embellishments. When I began to see the fabulous divergence I got as excited as the kids. I just had to fan that flame. It reminded me of Pinkwater's book, which I had not thought of in a long time. It was a very good and timely reminder. So this week I am counting such a sublime chance to peek in the windows of many dream houses.

Now tell me how a house that is you and you are it would look if it looked like all of your dreams.

28 comments:

misticblu said...

Now ya' got me thinking! I have never been too concerned with my surroundings, except for cleanliness and comfort. But to have ANYTHING i want? Here goes....I would be all about the yard (ampitheater for music) and porch/screened/Florida room type extensions. NO hallways!
Kitchen would be half of the house with a glass top AND a wood burning stove.
Pool would be on the roof, along with a deer stand (said house would be in the middle of a forest).
I would also insist on a sunken 70's style living room with pit group.
oh yeah, and one of those fireplaces in the center of the room that everyone can sit around.
(I am going to save this thought in my documents and add to it as time goes by, thanks for the inspiration!)

Desmond Jones said...

No, Lime! Please stay away from any and all roof-slides!

This is a sweet post. (Can I say, without seeming creepy, that I really enjoy the 'unconventional' side of your personality?)

And if my kids (my teen boys, most especially) were handed a Chinese take-out carton, the first thing they'd do is check to see if there was any Hunan Chicken inside it. . .

G-Man said...

I'll run right out and get that book Trini...Thanks

Ananda girl said...

Working with kids and their imaginations is so much fun. I like your book gals! Funny face and all.

I'm going to think about my house and get back to you shortly.

:)

lecram said...

I love those "do it your way" projects. It's a technique I have often used with various workshops I've conducted. The creativity that emerges never fails to amaze me.
Cheers!

NYD said...

I will definitey be getting the book. The chances of mt local library having it are less than nil.

Thank you, tahank ou for allowing the kids to Do it their way. Some folks really have to learn that children will fing the most amazing paths to the goal you set before them.

S said...

That book sounds adorable, I'll have to check it out.

I just love that little animal with the soda! So cute.

What a fun project, beats burnt matchstick crosses anyday.

coopernicus said...

last picture, girl on the right...gee...wonder where she got THAT face from...a Limette in the making...

Suldog said...

My house that is me would have 366 rooms, each a special place for a specific day of the year. The Leap Year room would only be entered once every four years, and it would be a repository of serendipitous happenstance, into which I would be flung for that 24-hour period. And, if I didn't feel like coming back, I'd build another 366-room house wherever I had gone to.

You, of course, would be invited to visit.

Craver Vii said...

Intriguing question!! I'd like something small and simple on the outside with a spacious lawn, but I'd want it big on the inside... 2nd and 3rd basements with libraries and workshops and such.

Margie said...

"For some, the dreams include sliding boards that start at the roof. I hope he invites me to visit someday."

Did you learn NOTHING from that zip-line incident?

Your story reminds me of our 'Cookie Cutter' neighborhood, which I loath more each and every day. I have the plans to my 'Dream House' on the fridge... Someday, if this housing crisis ever levels out, I dream we'll purchase some land in the woods, with a creek nearby where we can build our beautiful house. Perhaps I'll scan the picture of it and create a post.

Thanks for the inspiration!
:-)

RennyBA said...

What a creative family. I can tell I need to get that book too!

Moannie said...

I'd have a country kitchen with a huge AGA stove, a large pine table with room for a dozen seats, and there would be a big squashy sofa near the Aga and there would always be food on the table and lots of people eating.

I wouldn't mind too much about the rest of the house but there would be a large bright north facing attic room for me alone, with two easels and masses of canvases and watercolour paper and every concievable colour of oils and watercolours. A woodburning stove to keep me and my coffee pot warm in the winter-and one long wall of shelves for all my books. Oh and of course a desk for my computor and an intercom so the chef can call me for my meals. HEAVEN!

secret agent woman said...

Looks like fun. Another Pinkwater book, "Lizard Music" is one of my all-time favorites.

Trooper Thorn said...

Mine would have a ball pit. There's no law agains an adult having a ball pit.

misticblu said...

LOL @ Trooper!

Ananda girl said...

Okay... I would have a house made out of brick, with windows shaped like spider webs and a thatch roof that hung down very low to the ground with windows in it too. It would have zero lawn, only lots and lots of perennial flowers and evergreen shrubs. The walk would be of stones with moss growing between. The door bell would be a cackle. I'd be the happiest person on earth. Ta da!

Pouty Lips said...

It would look like my deceased ex-boyriend, apparently.

Cocotte said...

Mine would have been boring. I was not encouraged to be creative when I was a kid.

~Dragonfly~* said...

I love this idea... and think you should have started it by reading the book to them!!! What a great activity.

My dream house would be in the middle of a hundred acre woods, have all the toys that Home Depot provides and a beautiful mountain man to go with it all!!!

But then... if you are with the right person... it doesn't really matter what your house looked like, you'd be living your dreams every day. All the good ones wrapped up together!

Malicious Intent said...

I would want all of my walls to be stained glass with every color and pattern. Carpet that that was fluffy and furry that never got dirty or matted. All white. Fun furniture that was rounded and fun to flop into with lots of fun pillows of all shapes and sizes and colors.

Lots of light, lots of color...I am a big eye candy person.

Rock on with the kids. I have set up such projects before (last one was Christmas tree ornaments on puzzle piece templates) and I have always been amazed how you set out the materials...and everyone uses the exact same materials, same instructions...but you never get two of anything the same. Very fun! The kids are adorable you work with.

Palm Springs Savant said...

actually I am familiar with mr plumbean, what a teriffic story too. This put a smile on my face this morning Lime.

Fragrant Liar said...

I love the kid's crazy hair buzz. That one took real guts!

VE said...

Mine is almost done, I'm building it out of rolled up fortunes from fortune cookies. Give me one more year...

Moosekahl said...

The best part of being creative is allowing yourself the chance to fuel someone else's creativity! A success indeed!

Beach Bum said...

...Mr. Plumbean to do something about this problem assuming he will conform to the old pattern.

Obviously Mr. Plumbean didn't have to contend with a the Nazis from the Home Owners Association.

Sorry about being cynical, but you know how much I hate suburbia.

Mona said...

That books sure sounds good!

Mine would look like a smiley I guess and yours will be made of chocolate with Hugh Jackman inside it, I am sure!

Those are such lovely pictures and it is interesting what the children came up with!

Jocelyn said...

Just to get your goat, I should tell you my house is made of chocolate and Hugh Jackman, and I am inside of him, licking.

Of course, that doesn't really make sense in any way I want it to--'cause the only way it makes sense would turn this into an XXX blog and would require I gargle, repeatedly, when done.

TERRIFIC project, Limey.