Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Tennis Ball Painting

A while back I bought a new container of tennis balls and set them aside for when summer came. Today, wanting to hit the courts and play a few rounds with my kids, I went to pull them out. However, they weren't where I thought I had left them. After looking around I eventually found
them. They were a bit worse for wear as they appeared to have been gnawed on and were slobbery. My Sherlock skills tell me that our Great Dane found them to be rather appealing. So today's plans ended up being changed.

Instead of hitting the courts, we used the tennis balls (minus one that we let the dog keep) as paint brushes....sort of.  Here's what you will need to replicate the project:

  • Tennis balls
  • Paint (we used acrylics)
  • Very small Screw Eye Hooks ( I got mine at Fred Meyers-the smallest size they had)
  • Yarn or some sort of string ( you might use thing rope as the yarn frays and breaks after a while)
  • Canvas or Canvas Boards or something to paint basically
  • Some place to hang your tennis ball
  • container for your paint
  • Paint Brushes (for painting tennis balls or adding details to your canvas)
  • Scissors (for cutting the yarn)

Once you have everything ready, you are going to screw in a small screw eye hook into each of the tennis balls. Then tie the yarn to one of the eye holes in the screw (like the image on the left).

Once that is finished you can take the tennis ball and yarn out to where you want to hang it. You need to make sure that the string is long enough after you tie it for the tennis ball to hit your canvas. I figured this out the hard way.  It also needs to have room to swing. We tied our tennis balls to the monkey bars on the play structure.

 And used an old trike to hold the canvas. It worked pretty well.

Now pour your paint into a container and either use paint brushes to paint your tennis ball or dip the ball into the paint container. It's fun to experiment and see what different types of marks you get when you apply the paint differently. We used a different tennis ball for each color so as to not mix the colors until they were on the canvas. However you could paint rainbow tennis balls or mix colors on the tennis ball. We also only tied one at a time, but it might be fun to tie several up and use all at once.

 The last step is the most fun. Pull the string back and let it go! The tennis ball will fly into your canvas and create one of kind marks, lines, dots and splatters. :)

This process can get pretty messy, especially for younger artists. So I would recommend using paint clothes or old clothes, that way when they end up covered in acrylic paint you won't be upset or stress over trying to wash it out. Or you can have kids wear an apron or art smock to protect your clothes.

I personally didn't mind paint getting on the lawn or the old trike, but if this is something of a concern for you, you might think about putting an old sheet or tarp under where your canvas is.

You can also hold the tennis ball and drop it onto a canvas laying on the ground (like the image to the right) or throw it at a canvas that's secured (and not just propped up). The possibilities are endless!
As always, we would love to see any variations you may have on the idea or your beautiful works of art.
Happy creating!  ;)

Friday, July 12, 2013

Exploring How Water Moves

 With the temperature in the high 90s lately, I thought we could use some fun outdoor cooling down activities.  However our sweet doofus of a dog and high energy cats make a lot of activities unavailable to us. Case in point, last summer our dog ate the water balloons and the cats, who were running from the dog, leaped onto the inflatable pool. Next thing I know there's 2 cats and a dog sitting the middle of what used to be a pool. So this year called for something different.

At the preschool I had been working at, we did an exploration of how objects move in water. I had thought this unit should have started with the question, how water moves? So I decided to find a way to watch the movement of water.  Levi, loves water. He can sit and watch water move for hours. Well, maybe not that long, but far longer than I can.  So I thought why not let him show us how water moves.

I handed him the hose and the next part was sheer magic.  Levi created a water slide.  The simplest action made into a days worth of fun and exploration.  And I found myself thinking, why hadn't I thought of that?

The water slide then became rain as the girls took turns spraying the water high into the air while the other two, not with the hose, held umbrellas and waited for the water to cascade down upon them.

The kids' ideas for using products we already had and creating a new spin on them inspired me as well. So after lunch I pulled out the marble tracks.  We filled up a series of different sized buckets and containers and I placed a series of different sized cups by the track. Then I posed this question to the kids, How do you think the water will move through the marble tracks? Do you think it will make a difference if you used different cups to pour the water in?

The kids set out building their track for the water. Levi, who was more interested in pouring the water on the track made the process a bit slow, but eventually we had our track built.

The kids changed the track several times. Eventually we put a dash of food coloring in the water buckets to watch how the colored water would meld together to create different colors.  It was a great experiment and lots of fun. And best of all, it kept us cool during the hot day.  :)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Typography Made Easy

I love Pinterest! I find some of the coolest things there. My current find is this amazing free typography program at tagxedo that allows you to neat pictures out of words (hence the typography).

I made one for each of the kiddos and then one for my coffee themed kitchen. :) Pretty neat if I do say so myself.

The program allows you to choose your own words, shape, color and font. Try it out. It's highly addicting.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

And then there were 5 ....in the Zoo

My girls celebrated their birthdays back in April. They had been dying for a pet of their own for a while now, but the hubs and I just weren't sure they were ready. Then in March we were propositioned by someone in my husband's unit about taking one of his baby bunnies in April when they were old enough. Long story short, we got 2!

So I give you Bunnicula and Dusty. :)


Monday, March 18, 2013

Additional content and Shoes

So I've had this blog now for ...oh about a year and a half now.  And in that time I think I have managed to post maybe 12 posts total. And why is that? It's not for a lack of things to say...I'm not a complete shut in.  I just find that every time I bring up the old blog page I agonize about what to write and the "direction of the blog". Ya know, the stuff we read on the how to do it pages or in the interviews of successful bloggers.

This year, like every other, I sat down and wrote a list of resolutions. And number 5 on that list was to blog more. Which means I either have to type up way more kid related projects or I have to add additional content to my blog.  And since I'm not one for simply posting projects that I don't like just to raise my post count, that means I'll be adding a bit more "real" to the blog. Little by little.

So, here's what I do when I'm not playing with my kids, creating new craft/art projects for them to do or teaching......

I paint shoes!
And other stuff....but I love painting shoes.

My most recent ones. The pink ones were for Clara from her favorite book series, Goddess Girls. She was adorable and eagerly showed them off at school.  I'm currently working on a Monster High pair. When done, I'll post them.
Well there you have it, additional content.  :)

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Valentine's Day Bookmarks

Here we are in 2013 and can you believe that I got away with not making valentines until this year.  Maybe that's not so hard to believe for some, but I was raised that valentines were made not bought. I have several fond memories of sitting at the kitchen table with my mom into what I thought at the time were the wee hours of the morning putting together Valentines for my classmates.

This year Rini decided she wanted to make her valentines after she stumbled across these adorable little owl bookmarks on pinterest.

Rini herself, is an avid reader and wanted to share her love of books with her class. And so, the bookmark valentines were born. :)

Ours turned out a bit different, but still cute I thought. Rini did almost all the work and in two days after school made 30 bookmark valentines.

Here is what we used:

  • Card stock- for bookmark base and heart base
  • Pattern Paper- (left over from pages in our scrapbook) for the inside part of the base and inside of heart
  • Clip Art- image we found on google
  • 2" Circle hand punch
  • 3 in 1 scallop circle hand punch
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Printer for the saying and clip art image
  • Stapler
  • Ribbon Scraps
  • Pencil for marking and signing name
  • Suckers for treats (were attached using paper clips)

The process we used was pretty simple. First we cut the card stock to the size we wanted the bookmarks. Then measure and cut the pattern paper you want on the bookmark. We decided ours should be smaller than the bookmark as we wanted some of the card stock to show and frame the pattern paper. Then glue these two pieces together. We ended up with the above image once this step was complete.

Thirdly we printed out a few sheets of the clip art image (cat and dog) and used the circle punch  to cut them out. In order to make the scallop border around the circle, we used a scallop circle punch that we had at the house. However, our scallop circle punch is much smaller than the 2" circle punch so after asking Rini what she wanted to do about it, she decided that if we punched out several and glued them to the back of the circles it would create approximately the same effect. So that's what we did. We ended up punching out 5 scallop circles per 1  2" circle.  Of course you wouldn't have to do this step or you could hand cut out a border for the circle part.
Once they were all glued together we ended up with these.

The fourth step were the hearts which are made up of three pieces. First, choose the card stock you want. Rini chose green as its the opposite on the color wheel from red. Now measure how big you want the hearts and cut them out. If you have a heart hand punch you could use that, but we cut all 30 of ours by hand.

The next step was to cute the pattern paper into smaller hearts so they would fit inside the green card stock ones. For this we measured the green hearts and cut the paper into slightly smaller squares. Then traced a green heart on each square. Once that was done we tore the paper along the line to make the hearts. The result is the uneven and white line around the pattern paper hearts. Now glue those two pieces together. Thirdly, we came up with two sayings, typed them out in word, printed them and then cut them out. These were then glued on top of the hearts.

The fifth step is the ribbon. We used scraps of ribbon and folded them in half. Then using a stapler, stapled the ribbon to the top of one of the bookmarks before gluing our circles over the stapled ribbon. This hides the staple on the front.

Lastly, you glue all pieces together. This is what we ended up with when it was all done.

The bookmarks weren't perfect but they were well received and I don't know about her class, but mine will be well loved and cherished!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

January Flowers

Here I was thinking, "I can't believe its already January" and before I knew it January had come and gone.  Now with it begin February I'm playing catch up.

Last month at my daughter's school I taught a class on Georgia O'Keefe, who is an amazing artist and an amazing woman. She stood tall and continued doing what she loved, painting;  no matter how people looked at her or what they said about her. I think that's a great lesson that we can all learn from and it was a great way to start out the beginning of the new year.

This year I teach an art class every other month to a class of third graders. For our project on Georgia O'Keefe we painted flowers from the perspective of a bee (or other small insect). The pieces turned out fantastic I think.

This project is really simple and would make for a great rainy day art project at home. Here's what you need:

  • Thick paper like card stock
  • watercolor paints
  • paint brushes
  • small container for water
  • a tissue or napkin for drying your paint brush
  • a pencil for drawing
  • a sharpie marker (or other permanent marker) for tracing

Have children look at a flower or imagine a what a flower would look like to a bee. Tell them the flowers have to be BIG and has to touch each side of their paper. Have them draw the image out first in pencil. Then they trace the image with the marker. You need to use a sharpie here instead of a crayola because you will be adding water and paint to the paper and other types of markers can bleed sometimes.

Once the flower is traced, the next step is to paint it. I like to let kids go crazy here and paint however they want. Maybe they want rainbow flower petals or orange steams or flowers with stars on the petals....the skies the limit.

Once the painting is dry, you are done. I think a set of these framed would be wonderful to dress up a bathroom or nook in a hallway. And what better to display proudly in your house, than your child's masterpiece?