Saturday, August 9, 2008


I remember when I was in college and we learned about simulacra. The definition is a likeness. I have always thought of it as art imitating life. An example - a painter paints a picture that he copied off a photograph. The photograph is one step away from the 'real thing'. Does that make sense at all? Think of Andy Warhol and his Campbell's Soup paintings - similar but not the real thing.

Anyway - on our vacation - we partook in simulacra.

Earlier this summer I borrowed a book from our local library entitled: Summer Crafts: Fun and Creative Summer Projects for the Whole Family. In this book, by Marjorie Galen, one of the crafts is creating a mermaid on the beach. We did that. The Craigville Beach on Cape Cod had an insane amount of seaweed washing up on it when we were there. What else are you to do with seaweed (other than make a seaweed tower) than to use it for mermaid hair!

In addition to there being an excessive amount of seaweed there was also an excessive amount of shells. Seriously, we cut our feet. The shells were at least a foot deep into the ocean and an inch or two deep. All my husband had to do was bring me handful after handful of shells from the ocean floor so Lola & I could decorate the mermaid. Lucy's job was to find seaweed.

And - to get back to the book - I liked it so much that I ordered it. It is no longer currently in print but is available used and new via Amazon's search. She has patterns for sewing up some backpacks for your kids to use at the beach - brilliant! Make them carry their own things off the beach in their own backpack. There is a chocolate chip cookie recipe. There is an entry on using mod podge and paper on rocks as well as baking your rocks and then coloring on them with crayons to create one of a kind art. All the photos are great and her explanations / directions are easy to follow.

The only reason we actually wound up making the mermaid is because Lucy looked through the book before vacation and once we got to the beach that is what she requested we make. So we did.

Before summer ends, see if your library carries this book. You won't be disappointed by it. Be careful about where you leave it in your home. Your children might start asking you to sew them a mermaid doll or make them a necklace with seashells if you leave it someplace they can find it.


jillytacy said...

Wow, what a great mermaid! It looks like you had fun at the beach. The book looks very cool so I'll have to look for it at our library. By the way I learned some new vocabulary from your post. Word Girl will be proud!

Anonymous said...

Terrific mermaid! I love it!

Must find a copy of that book, too....thanks for posting about it. :)

Anonymous said...

Fantastic! Nice family project. Wonder if we have that book over here.

Michie said...

We were at that beach this summer too! I love the mermaid! My daughter would LOVE to make one like that! I'm going to have to look for the book.


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