The problem with Camp Sweatshop this year is that the subjects I chose to focus on aren't easily photograph-able or even tell-able.  No one really wants to see pictures of me reading the same alphabet book over and over to The Caterpillar and The Dormouse is sitting at the table doing math problems.  So anything I would have to say about that would be something like:

6(2+5) = 20 - 5 + 22 
True or FalZZZZzzzzzzzzz?

See what I mean?  

I'm really going to have to reevaluate the educational needs of my children vs. the content needs of my blog next year.  

We do get around to doing a few actual activities every once in awhile though.

A couple of months ago, I bought a wardrobe for The Dormouse's room so she could keep her clothes in her own room, rather than crammed into the closet in The Caterpillar's room.  This is how our house works:  I take a rocking chair out of the living room for some more space upstairs.  The only place it fits is downstairs in the extra bedroom, but then the coffee table downstairs has to move to the studio to make room for that.  But the door to the studio is blocked by the coffee table so I move a desk to the computer room.  But then you can't walk around in the computer room, so I move the smaller desk to The Dormouse's room.  But then I have to move the chair in her room upstairs, and suddenly I have a chair in the exact place where I'd taken a chair out just hours earlier.  If furniture enjoyed playing the game of musical chairs, my furniture would be the most entertained furniture on the planet.  

Anyway, we've always had an extra freezer and food storage in what counts as a closet in The Dormouse's room.  Since I wasn't about to start moving that stuff around, I bought her this wardrobe from IKEA (I still hate that place, but I've learned to accept its existence when it serves me) to avoid the issue of the closet entirely. Originally, I wanted to buy her the chest of drawers that goes with it, but this was one of those "systems," which I'm convinced is Swedish for "we can charge you individually for each and every screw or nail used to put it together."  You have to buy the frame... and then the drawers... and then the faces of the drawers... and then the hardware to hang the drawers... and then the feet to put the frame on.... and when I was done, I had stacked about $500 worth of pieces in my weird shopping cart that you can push sideways. I got it about halfway toward the cash register and then came to my senses...  I turned around and put it all back.  

Instead, I bought a little unfinished three drawer chest for $20 to go alongside the wardrobe and told The Dormouse she could paint it.  Cheap AND it counts as a summer camp activity for the kids? Sign me up.

I hauled the unit out into the yard and let them loose with some kid-friendly paints we had around the house. No clue how well these will last over wood, but I did know that they would wash off skin and out of swimming suits and that was good enough for me.

While we painted, we had art appreciation day.  We started by painting a base coat on all the sides.  

And then we talked about different artists and how we could paint different things on the unit like some of the artists we'd seen or heard about.

The Caterpillar asked me to paint a mermaid on her side.  My style is a reminiscent of the pre-raphaelites, a la  J. W. Waterhouse.   

This, folks, is the extent of my artistic abilities.  You see why I generally stick to digital arts.

The Dormouse started off with an homage to Robert Indiana. She never quite forgot her visit to Love Park in Philadelphia, I guess.

We talked about Jackson Pollock and his paint spatter technique.  Both the girls were eager to give that one a try.

I tried explaining Picasso and cubism to her and this is what came out of that discussion.

Then The Dormouse wanted to know about Leonardo Da Vinci and what his artwork looked like.  She asked me to paint something that looked like Da Vinci.  Knowing that my Waterhouse tribute was somewhat lacking, I didn't even attempt to paint the Mona Lisa.  Instead I went for the Vitruvian Man:

Almost a dead ringer for the original, yes?

The KnaveofHearts suggested we try for some Bob Ross.  Given my childhood obsession with him, I couldn't let that challenge stand unaccepted.  So we added a happy little tree. 

The Dormouse was inspired by Van Gogh and declared Starry Night her "favorite painting."  So she decided to add her own version on the back.  I'm amazed at how close she got to the original.

This was my favorite part of the whole project.  She painted it completely from memory having seen the painting in a cafe we visited quite some time ago.  Sadly, because she painted it on the back of the unit - the one that faces toward the wall - no one will never see it.

Have I shared with you the near-omnipresent obsession with fairies that exists in our house?  You could pretty much bet one would appear somewhere on this project.   

They may or may not have painted a few non-furniture-related items before they were finished.

But it was all good because once they were done painting, I sent them in the back where the car kid wash sits and told them to wash off.  That thing has come in handy more than once already.

Art appreciation day:  success.