Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kid's Craft: Decorative Tissue Boxes

On a recent rainy afternoon
(we've been having a lot of them this spring!)
The girls and I decided to decorate tissue boxes
for their rooms.
This simple project takes less than an hour and was
successful for both of my girls (ages 6 and 2)

The Frog Princess' masterpiece.

Mini-Saurus' creation.

It's nice to come up with
art projects that
both girls
can participate in.

First, we wrapped the box in some
left-over (re-cycled) wrapping paper
to block the designs on the box.
We used glue stick and a bit of double-sided
CM tape-runner tape.

Next, we added a strip of
cut paper green grass.
Again, green paper from the recycling in the art studio.

Yes we craft in PJs and Sundresses!

The girls raided the crafty foam sticker stash
in our art room and had fun telling me stories
about their critters on their boxes.
(Note: These would be cute with regular stickers
or cut paper pictures as well!)

Mini-Saurus REALLY liked using the stickers
and was so proud of her project that she's shown
it to everyone who has been to our house since she made it!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Preschool At Home: Listening Center

The Frog Princess recently
mentioned that one of her favorite
centers at school is the listening center.
Mama had another brainstorm!

I set up one in our family room
for the girls and it has been a hit!

I put a boom box with a CDplayer and tape deck in the block corner.
Three years ago, my mom bought a set of read-aloud books
for the Frog Princess as a Christmas gift.
This assortment of books and tapes/CDs were
sitting un-touched on a shelf upstairs.
The Frog Princess used to listen to these at bedtime
but then moved on (as kids will do)
and lost interest in them for a while.

Now, with them in a new place and after a brief respite,
they are new and exciting again.

Both girls like to snuggle in my big chair
and "read" together. It's funny how moving things around
(or rotating them in and out of the house for a while)
can make toys and activities so much more inviting.

Do you have a listening center or reading corner in your family room?
Do you rotate toys/games throughout your house?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Recycled Garden Trellis

I recently removed the
grills from our sliding glass doors
to open up the view
stashed them in the garage...

I didn't have plans for them at the time,
but kept them because I usually come up with
ways to recycle or re-purpose my stuff!!

Sure enough...the brainstorming kicked in
(in the shower as it usually does)
and I had my "aha moment!"

I needed a trellis for my beans
and flowers in the garden.

I used the purple paint I had leftover in the
garage from the Frog Princess' dumpster diving
desk rescue project from earlier this year...
and now I have two purple trellis' in my garden!!

Now I'm thinking they may need some
beads or crystals to hang
in the little frames.

Why can't I leave anything alone?!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Art History: Leonardo da Vinci

For our final AIS (Art in the Schools)
kindergarten lesson of the year, we studied the work of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

I showed the kids a portfolio of his work and talked about how he was a
true renaissance man best known for his art, scientific inventions, and engineering.
One of the most talented people to have ever lived.

I asked each of the children to draw:
1. A portrait (self or a friend),
2. An animal study (a drawing looking at plastic animals I brought in),
and 3. Draw your own invention.

Afterwards, we went back to the carpet and shared our inventions with one another.
I LOVE the ideas the kindergarteners came up with!!

Here's a list of some of their inventions:

A Pancake Maker
A Bug Feeder
A Stinging Box that Zaps Bad Guys
A Dog Feeder ("so you don't have to remember to feed your dog")
A People Lifter (to reach stuff)
A Planter Waterer
A Clock that Traps Bad Guys
A Snake Feeder
A President Dress Maker and a Coin Maker
A Time Machine
An Elephant Bomb Sucker Upper

FYI: Leonardo da Vinci conceptualized:
a helicopter, an armored tank, concentrated solar power, a double hull,
and outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics....
you know, in his spare time.

At home, ask your own mini-Leonardo to draw an invention,
or make something out of your invention box.
It might just be the start of something really big!

If you missed my post about our invention box, catch it here!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Play House Curtains - Fluffing the Nest

We added some curtains to the girl's
plastic outdoor play house last week.
It adds a bit of coziness and has
been fun for playing new games.

So easy,
anyone can do it.
I just put a tension rod up across the
window opening,
(the same kind I use for impromptu puppet shows!)

Added a few leftover clip-style curtain rings
from my kitchen junk drawer
(you know we all have one!)

Clipped on some dish towels...
Viola, easy home-made,
no-sew curtains.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Homemade Gazing Balls for Your Garden

The Frog Princess and I just completed
our favorite craft of the year this week.
We made yard gazing balls
that we found the directions for
in the May 2009 issue of
Family Fun Magazine
(they have the best craft projects!)

What more could an artsy mama hope for?!

Frog Princess painting our
3/8" dowel rods
with metallic acrylic craft paint.
We used red, teal, blue, and purple.

While the sticks dried in the sun,
it was time to paint the balls.

We modified the magazine directions a bit.Instead of painting the inside of the plastic keepsake balls
(we found ours at Michaels craft store)

We did a poured paint technique of
drizzling craft paint and tipping the ball to make
it swirl and marbleize.

It looked nicer and the paint brushes
made it too streaky.

Drizzling paint...

Swirled paint...
So pretty!!
It was fun because you never knew
what you were going to get.

Drying in the sun.

Note: that they are bowl side up....
We dried them the other way
and the condensation from the water in the paint
and the heat of the sun washed off half our paint
We had to start over.

Our gazing balls wired up and
ready to go in the garden.

Note: We substituted our own 16 guage copper wire
for their suggested 6-8 gauge copper wire
(too hard to bend and expensive!!)

So here you have them...

Love them!!
They "go" beautifully with my
vintage bowling balls I have scattered
in the flower beds.

We may have to make more to give as gifts!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Found A Penny - Simple Science: Shine Pennies At Home

The Frog Princess was swinging in the backyard
and we were having one of our "deep thoughts" conversations
(that we tend to have while swinging.)
She said she doesn't like the number one.
She thinks it's "lame"

So I told her it was mean to call anything names.
Then, I moved on to "selling" her on all the ways that
number one is cool.
I told her we wouldn't have any other numbers without one,
(because you need two ones to make two, and three ones to make three, etc.)
Then, I said you couldn't have
10, 100, or 1,000
without one.
And...(very important)
you wouldn't have pennies
without number one.

She said she didn't think pennies were that special.
So, I said,
"But you can shine them
with stuff in our kitchen...
It's like Magic."
"Really?"... she didn't believe me.

Do you girls want to go inside right now and shine up some
old pennies with Ketchup, an old toothbrush, and Baking Soda?
Two resounding yeses and we were off
for our shiny penny adventure!

First we scrubbed the pennies
with ketchup and toothbrushes
(old ones I save for these kind of projects)

Then, we rinsed them off in water.
And polished them with a paste
we made with baking soda and water.

End result=
Super Shiny Magic Pennies.
And mom is once again...
a rock star.

You can try this at home:

While we worked, we sang this song
the Frog Princess learned in Kindergarten
(to the tune of Oh My Darling Clementine)

"Found a penny.
Found a penny.
Found a penny just now.
It is round, and brown, and shiny,
Found a penny just now.

I see Lincoln.
I see Lincoln.
Our 16th President.
On the back is his memorial.

Penny, penny
Worth one cent."

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

* Backyard Fairy Garden In Container On the Deck

Someday, when we retire the sand and water table
from our deck... we shall have a tiny place where fairies dwell.

Until then, we'll have to play with the one at
Grammy and Grandpa's house!

My dad built this fantastic fairy garden on their deck last year.
It is a magical place to visit. The girls LOVE it.

We all had great fun re-visiting the tiny garden on Mother's Day.

Thank you grandpa.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Teacher Appreciation Gifts -- 7 Days of Fun

The Frog Princess and I spent Monday afternoon
making this little goody box
for her two Kindergarten teachers.

A small token of our appreciation
for all of their hard work.

I got the idea (once again)
from Skip To My Lou.

I picked up the days of the week pill boxes at Walmart
(less than a $1 each and in the favorite color -- purple!)
Each compartment contains a small note
and a little trinket.
I printed the notes off of Skip To My Lou.
(Check out her free downloads!)

Sunday - Gum
"You Were "Mint" to Teach!"

Monday - Home Made Monogram Magnets
"We are Stuck on You"

Tuesday - Cute Polka-dot Binder Clip
"Thanks for Holding Everything Together!"

Wednesday - Mini Thank you Note & Drawing
by the Frog Princess
"A Note To Let You Know That You Are a Wonderful Teacher!"

Thursday - Little Lady Bug Push Pins
"You Are Sharp As A Tack!"

Friday - 3 Quarters
"Soda You Know that we Think You are a Great Teacher?"

Saturday - Tiny Pencil
(I snapped off a pencil by the eraser and sharpened it to make a tiny one!)
"It's no Tiny Mistake...We Think You're Great!"

You could adapt this gift idea
for a babysitter, a grandma, your mail carrier, etc.

She has more great
Teacher Appreciation Gift Ideas here!

If you're a teacher...
(or you were in your past life like me...)
What's your favorite appreciation gift?

Monday, May 4, 2009

Teacher Appreciation Week Gifts: Shower Them With Flowers

This week is
Teacher Appreciation Week.
Our elementary school is celebrating it's
hard-working teachers with events and gifts all week.

I always loved the sweet notes and drawings
my students would bring me.
Home-made anything
is always the best kind of gift.

I'm taking a page from my own playbook
this week and making home-made gifts
with the Frog Princess for her teachers.

First up,
May Day baskets of Paper Flowers.

Today, each child was asked to bring in a flower
for each of their teachers
resulting in lovely mixed bouquets
to brighten the classrooms all week.

Well, it's raining cats and dogs here
and my daffodils and tulips are done
so what's a crafty mama to do??
Make her own flowers of course!

I skipped over to my blogger idol,
Skip To My Lou
(check Cindy out - she's a craft rock star!)
and found templates for Lollipop Lillies,
Lollipop Butterflies,
and a cute paper May Day cone basket.
I made the flowers with pipecleaner stems instead,
and added some flowers cut from scraps
on my Sizzix.

The Frog Princess
added personalized notes
for each of her teachers...
(and lollipop butterflies)

We added colorful flower ribbon handles
and she was off to school
to present her first gift of the week
to her wonderful Kindergarten teachers.

Coming up next...
more special gifts for each day of the week.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Art History: David Hockney Calendar Collage

So this week I was in the Frog Princess's Kindergarten Classroom to teach another
AIS (Art in the Schools) lesson.
We looked at the work of David Hockney.
Best known for his swimming pool paintings and funky photo collages.

We made our own photos collages by recycling (yay!) old calendar photos
and glue-sticking (yes it's a verb) them to black construction paper
(because everything looks more sophisticated on dark paper.)

(This is the one the Frog Princess made - she says it's a cherry tree! -- Her mama loves it.)

The kids liked the project so much, most of them made 2 or 3 different pictures.
Some had fun combining more than one photo.

You can re-create this lesson at home with catalogs/magazines/or old calendars.
You could even cut up old drawings.

Be warned, if you go looking on-line for David Hockney art work to show your kids...
some of his paintings and photos contain adult nudity. (Make sure you pre-screen)

Happy Collag-ing!
(yes, that's another word I just made up)

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