Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Bubblemania -- It's Not Just for Kids

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, bubbles are my favorite toy. There's something about these clear orbs floating around that makes me smile. An image of laughing children, sunny days and a peaceful feeling surfaces when I see bubbles. I'm not alone. Bubbles are the best selling toy in the world and have been around since the 18th century when mothers used to give children leftover washing soap to play with.

But they're not just for kids. There's a street corner in the art district of Berlin where adults gather just to make bubbles:

Bubble sections are featured in many museums around the world. Here's a scene from the Hong Kong Museum of Science:

Parents and preschool teachers use bubbles to calm and entertain active children:

There's even such a thing as bubble painting:

Why all this love of bubbles? Some things are meant to be enjoyed, not analyzed, but I do like the explanation given by Sir John Edward Millais who painted the portrait, "Bubbles" in 1886.

Millais stated, "Bubbles are fragile and have a brief moment of beauty before they burst." In the 1800s Dutch artists painted children blowing bubbles to convey the brevity of human life, the transience of beauty and the inevitability of death.

All this magic costs about 49 cents per bottle at most stores.

So the next time you're feeling stressed, blow some bubbles. See what happens. If you you don't have any around watch this video:

A Little Something Extra:

Bubble Recipe:

1/2 cup of dish detergent (washing up liquid)
5 cups water (soft water is best - if your water is very hard consider using distilled or bottled water)
2 tablespoons glycerin (available at the pharmacy or supermarket). You can substitute light corn syrup (not golden syrup!)
Mix the ingredients together very carefully, so that you they don't get too bubbly. Pour into storage containers and, if possible, leave overnight to blend.

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