Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Don't forget to tip your waitress...

I have waited many a table in my day. I met my future husband first as his waitress. The allure of my scowl overtop that coffee pot proved to be too much for the lad and he quickly offered up a happily ever after. I left that chapter of my life some time ago, hung up my apron in favour of a career in illustration. The days of serving grumpy ingrates put far behind me, or so I thought.
I then had twins. And it seems to me over the past year that I am again put in the position of waitress. A waitress who works in a restaurant where nobody likes the food and no one ever leaves a tip. It is rather frustrating to work to try and prepare some sort of appealing nourishment for your kids. Lord knows there are a kabillion experts offering up the importance of getting five servings of veggies/fruit/whole grains/gluten free/dairy free/protein/natural sugars only a day, only to hear the exclamation "I can't eat it Mama - it's cat food"! 
Sigh. That combined with the task of teaching these crazy little people colours and counting can put an incredible amount of strain on a person. 
Well folks, when life hands you a turd, roll it in sparkles. I decided that if I was going to be an employee around here I should at least be tipped. We needed a project that was versatile in the ways it could be used. So, we created cloth dollar bills for Georgia and Shep to play general store, or in our case, restaurant. I let them pick their own colours, I did all the lino cutting and any scissor work when they were napping to avoid tantrums and potentially getting shived by one of them.

A project for a rainy day Wednesday "Mama gets paid"...

Get yourself a lino block (I prefer the rubber ones, but you works with what you gots), and draw out your design. I stayed pretty simple, but you could get fanciful with a portrait of good old Queen Lizzy if you felt like it.

You will need some of these bad boys to cut out your design. Please keep far far away from tiny hands, they are deadly sharp. And always cut away from the hand holding the block. This may seem like logic, but surely I am not the only one that has suffered lino injuries.

Cut or gouge out the "white space". You may notice my redraw of the dollar sign. I quite often draw these things the right way round and then inevitably am super bummed when they print out backwards. I caught this one in time.

Pick your colours and grab a roller. I use speedball products, but you could use regular acrylic craft paint too. I chose an old white pillow case as the material to be printed on. I cut around the seams and laid it flat. Cotton works nicely in this project.

Roll a nice thick layer of paint onto your stencil and press firmly onto material. I, with the help of little hands, reapplied the ink after each pressing.

Wash lino block in warm water to remove ink between colour changes.

Carefully hang your printed money to dry. I gave this a few good hours to set before I cut out the pieces.

Cut out prints...

To add weight and longevity to the pieces I then placed each onto felt and stitched them quickly with my sewing machine. Since neither of my kids opted for green ink I chose a green thread to contrast the colours nicely.

And there you have it...a big pile of money!


Sorting according to colour...

Shep eyeing up Georgia's pile...

No, I am not eager to teach my kids the ins and outs of capitalism. I do however see the need for them to understand value of things. For now we are a money bound society, and both their parents work very hard for these dollars. Food generally costs money, including that big old bowl of "cat food" I just plonked in front of you Miss Georgia. Taxes included, tipping is not optional.

xo Mama out.


  1. I always found tipping well lead to great service. But the best tip was when someone said, "You should date Rachel."

  2. Total genius dear milk shake!

  3. brilliant!! wish i had thought to do this when my girls were this age. This is marketable my dear.

  4. aaah Rachel. Perfect again! Hope you're saving all this to make a book.

  5. bahahahaa project, first music video, so they can learn how to make that papah rain...