Monday, December 10, 2012

Holiday Advent Calendar days 1-9

So  I know it's December 9th already and I swore to myself I would post this on the 30th of last month, but well...turns out I didn't get around to it.  So here is what we did for the first 9 days of December:

December 1st- Make a New Advent Calendar.  We actually hadn't ever made one. I was picking up those little cardboard ones every year, you kno w the ones with chocolate behind each day. But it with the kiddos getting older it was getting harder to have only one child open the little door for the day and then who would get the candy?  So this year I went to the craft store an bourght some holiday fabric in the clearance isle and some fat quarters that matched it. I pulled them out on the 1st along with a hot glue gun, 3 pairs of scissors and some glitter glue pens.  I explained to the kiddos that we needed to have something with pockets or doors and 25 of them (one for every day of the advent calendar).  What happened next was pure magic.  The kids set to work on their design, all working together. They got great tracing and cutting practice. I help the older two use the hot glue gun under supervision and watched as our calendar started to take shape.

December 2nd- Decorate House
December 3rd- Read a Holiday Book- Llama, Llama Holiday Drama- My kids love this cute story that helps with rhyming skills. It has been something we have read every year since I bought it.
December 4th- 1st Cocoa of the Season- We have a make it your own way cocoa bar, where the kids can add marshmellows, caramel, chocolate shavings, whip cream, cookie pieces, candy pieces and/or candy cane pieces to their cocoa.
December 5th- Giving Tree- Pick out names and go shopping -This is something we try to do every year from different trees. This year though we sadly had to limit it to only one tree instead of 2 or 3.
December 6th- Visit Family
December 7th- Holiday Work Party
December 8th-  Pick Up a Tree
December 9th- Hand and Foot Print Reindeers - These seem to be all over pinterest lately, but in case you haven't seen them, here is how we made ours. You will need brown paint for hand and foot prints. Red paint for noses and a different color for the eyes.  Start by placing hand or foot in the paint (or we used paint brushes to paint the palm of one hand). The make your print on the paper you plan on using. Once dry or dry-ish, you can use a paintbrush to add the red nose, paint on antlers and add eyes. Then the rest of the paper can be decorated or left blank, depending on the project. For a framed piece for a gift, it might be best to leave the rest of the space white for a clean look, like the one above. We just did ours for fun and as decorations for the house, so I let the kiddos go to town.

We only used paint for ours, but you could easily use twigs or pipe cleaners as antlers. Googly eyes could be used instead of painted ones also.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Ebru Paper Marbling

 When I was younger I can remember doing an art project with water, paint and paper. In which you poured small amounts of paint onto water and then gently placed a paper on top to create a one of a kind print. This project was always one of my favorite memories.  But everytime I tried to recreate the project I had done as a kid, it always ended up in a failure of attempts and frustration.

A few weeks back I had come across a youtube video in which several beautiful images were created by using a special chemical solution in water and ink applied to the surface. The technique dates back as far as the 10th century and was used by many cultures to marble paper, fabric and other materials.

Paper Marbling was exactly what I had done as a kid and wanted to share with my kids and the kids I work with.  But I wasn't sure how safe the chemical solution was for children so I went about thinking of new ways to do the project but still achieve the same or at least similar results.

Here is what I came up with and the supplies you will need:

  • Trays (We use throw away trays that are found in the baking isle of your grocery stores. These can be used multpile times.)
  • Vegetable oil and water in a tray
  • Corn syrup in a tray
  • Liquid corn starch in a tray (you can buy this at the grocery store with the laundry soap or you can heat up corn starch and water as I did to make a sort of thick liquid. Be warned though that this does congeal when cold and doesn't work well then. Also let cool slightly before using as it is very hot.)
  • Tempura paints
  • Water to thin paints
  • Paint brushes
  • Tooth picks
  • Old combs
  • Straws (for mixing or blowing bubbles into the oil and water tray)
  • Paper (we used a medium thick cardstock)
  • Newspaper to put down to limit mess and to dry prints on

The process is pretty simple. Simply pour in the paint and use a toothpick, paint brush, comb, etc. to mix and swirl the paint on the surface to create the image you want. Once achieved, place a piec of your cardstock gently on the top of the liquid and count to 5. Then pull it up gently and viola.  If you want darker coloring, you can leave it on the water for a longer amount of time.

The paint can be applied straight from the bottle or can be watered down and poured into the pans. I recommend using small cups if pouring with little kids so that they don't dump large amounts of watered down paint into the pan.

Also, the oil and water pan has to have paint that is thinned down and applied carefully or it will sink to the bottom and you won't be able to make your prints. This one can be a little tricky for younger kids but is still very fun to explore and play around with.

I will also warn you that the corn syrup is sticky and will stick to everything while drying. This is why I recommend laying them in the sun on newspaper. That way you can cut around the newspaper once they are dry. Sometimes they are a little tacky after they're dry, but are very pretty and fun to make.

 Each of the ingrediant trays creates a different type of marbling effect. Which allows for quite the exploration and discussion between kids during the project time.

 The one on the left here is corn syrup while the image on the right shows the results from the liquid corn starch. The image above (with the hand pour liquid froma cup) shows the tray with oil and water.

I found that this project was rather successful in teaching young kids about primary and secondary colors as the colors will mix together, creating new ones when the kids swirl the colors around. This is also a great sensory project and allows for creative exploration.

By the end of our project time however, most trays had become goop. But the kids had a great time.

As always, we would love to see any variations you may have on the idea or your beautiful works of art.
Happy creating!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Things that make me smile :)

Every once in a while its fun to stop and take notice of all the small things in life that bring you joy.
Here are some of my more recent finds:

                                                                  Beautiful Prints

                                                            Brightly Colored Flowers

                                                   Perfect Signs and Brightly Colored Toys

                                                             Bubble Machines!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

"I'm Bored" Game Boards

If your kids are anything like mine, then you have definitely heard this phase said in the whiniest of tones, " Moooom, I' bored!!"
As much as I love that phrase, it gets old real quick.  So during a rainy afternoon one day after hearing that phrase about a thousand times between the kids and having them reject any ideas I had come up with I threw my hands up and said, "Well, I'm gonna clean the toilet. You can entertain yourselves or help". Can you believe they chose to entertain themselves? I mean come on, who doesn't love to clean toilets? lol.

So while I set to my work, I started thinking there had to be a way in which I could entertain them and still get more things accomplished around the house or education wise. Then like that caffeine buzz you get after having a 6 shot espresso, it hit me. So that night I drew up what would be known as the "I'm bored! Game Board".

Here is what they look like:

I used an 8 1/2x11 sheet of paper and drew 9 columns across and 11 columns down. I did this 3 times, one board per kid. Then I filled each square with this that was relevant to each child. For example, Kat's board here has boxes like make dessert, plan the dinner menu, or babysit brother for 30 minutes. Where as Clara's board has things like, wash windows, put laundry away in rooms,  and set the table. Levi, being the youngest, has things like brush teeth and pick up toys.
And since I never miss an opportunity to educate my kids, I added things like math test, spelling test, write in your journal, science experiment, etc. to all boards.

Then feeling that the kids would refuse to play, which would make my efforts useless, I added things like trip to the park, scavenger hunt, library visit, ice cream parlor, etc.

 I also added 5 special squares. These are special because the tasks are more intense, but come with a great pay off.  If all 5 squares are collected, the winner of their game board gets to pick a prize from the treasure box ( which is extra little toys and things I collect through out the year and wrap up. They then go into a giant box we call the treasure box). The last square I added to each board is a free square, because well, it makes them happy to think they get something for free. :) Don't we all.

So in case you're interested on how the game is played, here are the rules I came up with.
A player can start on any square on the first row. Each square is a space. Spaces are gained by completing the tasks on them. You can only move spaces in a vertical or horizontal manner (see more of that education stuff right there). No diagonals. You also can not skip or jump over spaces (unless a spaces says to, which none of these do, but it might be fun to have some like that).  Once a task is completed a sticker must be placed on it for completion and moving forward ( X's would work too, but we like stickers here ).  Follow this method until you hit the bottom row. Once you have completed any task on the bottom row, the game is over.

Now the 5 special squares work like this: there are 4 on the main board and 1 on the bottom row. In order to get the treasure box prize you have to do the task on each of these and "collect" them. So for the last row, you would have to make that your last square. This forces them to think ahead (see more hidden teaching). If 4 or less are collect, they can be traded in for random things, most likely smaller goodies or candy.

Lastly are the initials on each piece. For every 10 square they complete, it counts as chores towards their allowance. When they choose to use this, I initial them off so we don't get the "but I didn't use them..." whine.

So now when they say, "I'm bored" I get to say, "have you checked the game board yet?" it doesn't always work, but it has definitely cut the whining down by at least half. Which in my book is awesome!!

Do you play games like this at your house? How do you deal with the "I'm bored!" whine?
I'd love to hear your stories and if you should choose to try the game out, please share it!

Hope everyone has a nice and sunny weekend!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Lunch Box Club-Charabens for Picky Eaters

It's common knowledge that cliques and schools go hand and hand, like peanut butter and jelly. What may not be so common knowledge (or at least it wasn't knowledge I was privvy to) is how early those cliques start. My daughter Rini started first grade this year. Her friends from last year all ended up with the same teacher. Luck was shining down on us.

My daughter is a very picky eater. We started a new rule this year because of it. She has to have one school lunch every week. Which basically means she starves one day every week until she comes home. Which is rediculous because she knows whats for lunch everyday and gets to pick the day she wants to eat school lunch. For the other days we do boxed lunches which usually consist of lunchables or pb&js as the main course.

One day Rini came home saying that all her friends were now taking lunch boxes. " It's like a club. We're now the Lunch Box Club." she announced.
A few days later we came across a few images of charabens. "Oh! I want one of those! Please please please mommy..." *Giant doe eyes* It's the doe eyes that do me in every time.

For those of you unfamiliar with charabens they are character lunch boxes usually created in the image of japanese cartoons. You can search character bento or charaben on google and see some amazing examples.

After doing that myself I thought, I can totally pull this off. So I started looking at the ingrediants used in the bentos. Broccoli, fish, meat, cucumbers, eggs, scallions, okra....there is no way my picky eater was going to eat that. How was I going to make a charaben out of the little amount of stuff she does eat? After considering this for a few days, here is what I came up with.

Aurora sits on a background of white rice. Her body and skirt is made from bologna and pepperoni. The bodice is olives as is her headband,and facial features.The shirt is bread as is the white of her eye. Her hair is the finest American cheese...kraft singles. lol. And the wall is toasted bread crust.

This little mermaid sits on a bed of speghetti noodles. Her hair is speghetti sauce. Her tail is made from green beans and olives as well as her hair decoration. She herself is made from bologna. And I added shredded cheese simply cause she likes it. ^-^

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DIY Jewelry/Hair Clip Organizer

So lately I have been in a reorganize the house mode. One thing that is terribly in need of a make-over is the girls' hair clips and jewelry. I had no idea what to do with it. We had been using a small box, but eventually they started spilling their way out or never making it back to the box. Something had to be done. Thanks to Pinterest (which I LOVE btw) I came across a cute little organizer made from a frame and some ribbon. It took me a day to make it (mostly because I had to wait for the paint to dry) and the girls absolutely love it. So here is the tutorial for making one if you've fallen in love with it as much as I have.

I apologize for not taking pictures of the process. But as it's super easy, I think it will be okay to simply explain.

You'll need a picture frame to start. I got mine at the dollar tree and it's an 11x14. Originally it was black, so I had to apply several coats to cover up the original black color. I will warn you though that if you go the route of dollar tree frame, they are very thin, so you will have to take more time and attention when drilling the holes as to not poke though the other side. Another great place to look for cheap frames would be at your local thrift store. Sometimes you can find amazing frames there for cheap.

Next you will need a box of hooks. I chose white as they matched the frame and got them in the hardware section of Krogers/Fred Meyers. However, I believe you can purchase these from Home Depot or other hardware stores as well. Mine are 7/8" I believe.

You will also need ribbon. I had scraps left over from other projects, so all I did was search for pieces long enough and the right colors. But if you don't have ribbon you can usually find cute cheap ribbon at Jo Ann Fabrics in the clearance and scrapbook areas. Dollar Tree usually has ribbon it just depends on the time of year as to what kinds you will find there. Micheals craft stores also have ribbon priced around a dollar in their dollar bins. Or if you are lucky enough to have a scrapbook store by you they will have ribbon; most are usually priced around a dollar. Some scrapbook stores charge by the yard, which would be ideal if you wanted to coordinate different ribbons.

And lastly you will need a hot glue gun or staple gun to attach your ribbon. And perhaps a drill to drill holes for the hooks if you can't hand screw them in.

The process now is simple:

1. Paint frame if needed
2. Drill holes for hooks (or hand screw them into the frame) The hooks will go on the bottom side of the frame. This is for hanging necklaces and bracelets.)
3. If you had to drill holes, hot glue the hooks inside the holes.
4. Cut ribbon to desired length and space out on the back of the frame- all going one direction.
5. Now hot glue (or staple) both sides to an opposite side of the frame, as seen in the picture.

Viola! You now have an organizer for $5- 10 dollars (or in my case under $5). Now hang your master piece and start organizing that jewelry. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

DIY Scratch Boards

Geh, I can't believe January is already almost over. It seems like it was just the other day that I wrote up the post on the To Do List Project. Man, I have no idea how other parents manage to blogs so often. I made it a resolution to try harder on my frequency. So here's hoping, right.
Well today I'm going to cover a project I taught in Art Discovery a week ago. It's pretty simple but does require a bit of prep time, which I would suggest you span out over a few days. Otherwise your hand will cramp up from the coloring you have to do.
In Class we covered expressionism vs. realism, so I made the base multiple colors. However, you could alter the project for halloween or Xmas by using only those colors. Another variation would be to color white crayon over white paper and then paint with a blue. This way you could make snowy wonderland scenes. Now onto the project:
What you will need:
  • Cardstock (or thick paper)
  • Color crayons (I used cra-Z-art, but crayola work well too. Any that are waxy should do it)
  • Scissors or an industial paper cutter-if you want to make them smaller(the scrapbook ones wont work unless you have a top lifting blade one)
  • Toothpicks
  • Black (or blue or whatever color) Tempura paint
  • A paint brush
This first part is the most time consuming. You need to take your cardstock paper and completely cover it in a thick layer of crayon. Again I did multiple colors, but you don't have to. My only suggestion is to not use the same color of crayon as you have for your paint. Otherwise it won't show up when you scratch it off.
I colored 25 sheets of 8.5x11 cardstock so after a while I got bored of the same pattern. As you can see you can actually make some pretty nice pictures just by doing this step. If you are having kiddos help you with this part, make sure to stress to them that you don't want to be able to see any of the white paper underneather. You need to build up a thick layer of wax so the paint will adhere to the wax and not the paper. If it adheres to the paper, you won't be able to scratch it off.
Next step is to cover your colored papers with tempura paint in your color of choice. I used black, but you can use whatever color you want. When applying the paint, it does tend to not want to stick. Just be patient with it. You want a nice even coat of paint, but try not to make it too thick cause it will flake off or too thin because the crayon will start to show through. It's best to let it dry for a day or two if possible. I have had the best results when I let the paint still longer than just over night. However overnight does work and is completely do-able.
Once sheets are completly dry, you can use your scissors/ cutting board to cut them into smaller pieces if you wish. Other wise, they are ready to be scratched into master pieces. Using a toothpick, the end of a paintbrush or anything else you might want to try out (forks make cool multiple lines), gently scratch your picture into the paint to reveal the color(s) underneath. Just remember not to scratch it all off. Enjoy!!