Tag Archives: sun

Melt a Rainbow

15 Sep

I saw this really cool painting/art thing on pinterest.com the other day, and decided to give it a try.  It looked easy enough – a bunch of crayons glued to the top of a canvas (in rainbow order) and then melted so the colors are running down in a big drippy mess.  I had to try it!  I showed my kids a picture of it, and they were really excited to try it, too.

A friend of mine (who also happens to be a kindergarten teacher) made one of these on an old chalkboard, using an embossing gun for the heat.  It turned out great!  But as I had neither an old chalkboard nor an embossing gun (what is that, anyway??), I had to improvise.

It's already beautiful!

I bought a large piece of black foam board at Target and a 64-count box of Crayola crayons.  The kids helped me line all the crayons up in rainbow order the best we could.  (Initially, we took out all the browns and grays, but ended up adding them in at the end of the rainbow, to fill in the board a little better.)  The only color I didn’t use was black, since it wouldn’t show up on the black foam board.

Once all the crayons were laid out, I cut off the extra bit of board at the end, so the width of the board was exactly the same as the crayons.  Once my kids went to bed, I got out my hot-glue gun and got going.  I glued all 63 of those little suckers on there, and of course I faced them all neatly where the “Crayola” label was showing.

Ready for the sun

As I mentioned, I don’t have an embossing gun.  A hairdryer might have worked, but I decided to use something even more readily at my disposal – the blistering sun!  After a cool snap last week (the temperature got all the way down to the 90s, wow), our highs in North Texas have gone back up over 100 degrees.  Today was projected to hit 107!  So all I did was lean that board up against my fence – on top of an old sheet so it wouldn’t get the grass all yucky – and wait.

Getting drippy

It didn’t take long at all.  After about half an hour, the blues and purples had started dripping.  My son was with me, and we both felt like we were catching a rare glimpse of something magical!  Another hour or so later, and it was definitely done – maybe a little too done.  I think I probably should have brought it in sooner.  The crayon wrappers were mostly empty shells, and the hot glue on one of them even melted and it fell off the board!  (Like I said, it’s HOT here.)

After round one in the sun

But even if it’s not “perfect,” it’s really cool.  A beautiful, melted rainbow, that my kids and I made for about six bucks.  And now we have a beautiful piece of art that we can hang in the house!

And the most amazing part, according to my son, is that the white crayon didn’t melt at all.  Not a drip.  I tried to explain to him about light colors reflecting heat and dark colors absorbing it, but his 5-year-old eyes sort of glazed over.  But even if he didn’t understand it, he still thought it was cool.

After another round in the sun - blobby but really cool!

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Fun in the Sun? Not So Much…

21 Jun

Someone recently asked my biggest regret in life.

I didn’t have to ponder that one.

“Not using sunscreen until my mid-30s!” I said.

My pal laughed, like I was making a joke or trying to sound glib.  But it’s 100-percent true.  I wake up every morning to crow’s feet and “overgrown freckles,” which continue to expand into unsightly splotches.  Let’s not even talk about my wrinkles.  (Suffice it to say, I recently got bangs.)

I’ve had chemical peels, each hurting like a son-of-a-you-know-what as several layers of skin burns away.  I’ve considered Botox for my brow and Rejuvaderm for my “commas,” those ever-deepening gullies framing my mouth.  For now, I make due with slathering SPF 70 or more on my face and hands every morning.  I reapply if I’m spending any time outside.

Vanity plays a big role in my epidermal angst, but so does an underlying unease about skin cancer.  I’m the poster child for melanoma: blue eyes, fair skin, a childhood spent at the beach that yielded plenty of bad burns.  My husband (another blue-eyed albino) and I do monthly “mole checks,” during which we scan each other’s backs for those sinister growths.  Sexy?  Not at all.  Necessary?  Probably.

So do me a favor this summer: Slap on that sunblock even if your outdoor excursions consist of darting outside to fetch the mail!  The American Academy of Dermatology offers additional advice:

  • Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or more to all exposed skin.  “Broad-spectrum” provides protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.  Reapply approximately every two hours, even on cloudy days, and after swimming or sweating.
  • Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, where possible.
  • Seek shade when appropriate.  Remember that the sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.  If your shadow appears to be shorter than you are, seek shade.
  • Use extra caution near water and sand because they reflect and intensify the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chances of sunburn.
  • Avoid tanning beds.  Ultraviolet light from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.  If you want to look tan, consider using a self-tanning product, but continue to use sunscreen with it.
  • Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist. Skin cancer is very treatable when caught early.

For more, visit www.aad.org.

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