..but you have to be willing to listen!

2WpresidionowWhen my boys were in grade school, it was tradition in California that in the 4th grade they all built a mission or something reflective of Junipero Serra era of our state history.  Well, my son came home and announced that he was building the original Royal Presidio of San Diego and he was going to do it out of clay.... gulp

So we discussed the build plan and he was pretty clear in his thoughts - using Original Sculpey to get that slightly chalky whitewash effect, building the walls in slabs.  What?  Using a pasta machine would be tough to make those long thick walls needed for the perimeter.  Nope, he had seen Grandpa's stash of balsa wood next door and planned to tape the balsa wood down and then he would make long "snakes" of clay and  roll the clay between the two pieces of balsa wood to make the long walls that would be thick enough.  Brilliant!  Evenly thick and high walls were created in no time.  Long story short, it came out fantastic, and we never got it back because the teachers ALWAYS kept our clay projects.

I happened to be working on an assignment for either Better Homes and Gardens or the old (and wonderful) Michaels magazine (I don't remember which one) that was for Halloween decoration.  So I used the same setup we had built for the presidio.  I made large "snakes" of clay, put them between the two pieces of balsa wood taped to a large sheet of poster board and just rolled over the clay to make it evenly flat.  The texture on the tomestones?  Another brilliant kid innovation - we put plastic wrap loosely on the clay after I rolled it and then rolled it again to embed the texture.  I don't carve very well, so I used rubber stamps  to imitate the carving details on the top of the "gravestones".  I made small "stones" to go between the "gravestones" to help hold the pieces together in a ring for the candle.  A little brown paint after baking and done!graveyard 3graveyard 1