Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Window Easter Eggs

We love decorating the house for holidays or to mark the change of seasons. Because it is more fun to arrange and rearrange than to simply put something up, I came up with an Easter craft that can be moved around a bit. 
We made these colorful Easter eggs for our windows the other day using white contact paper and permanent markers. I cut out a few egg shaped pieces and we sat down with the markers to decorate.

After the eggs were colored, we just peeled off the backing and stuck them on the windows. Contact paper sticks really well and peels off with no residue. Arranging the eggs on the window was a very fun job.
She came up with some lovely designs.
I designed an egg and Hollin made two more just like mine to try to trick me. 

Monday, March 22, 2010


We have been blessed with some pretty impressive sunrises over the last month or so. Hollin was inspired to paint one this morning. She helped herself to a sheet of watercolor paper and a tray of watercolor paints. I love what she came up with. I am glad we have this lovely reminder of sunrise as the sun is rising earlier and earlier these days. In another few weeks we may have forgotten about all those pretty morning colors. I suppose twenty hours of daylight is a fair trade for pretty sunrises...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Sequential Art--My First Attempt

I love the idea of telling stories using only images, or very few words. I was recently given the challenge of doing just that for my drawing class. Not only did I discover some really cool comic art out in the world, I had fun coming up with my own little story to tell. I am debating whether or not to cut this up and turn it into a book or keep it in one piece. It is 18" by 24", so it is pretty big as is. Hollin really likes it, and I am glad I was "forced" into creating something that will hopefully be of sentimental value to her in the future.

So why the birds and bubbles? It was a very unseasonably warm February day so I was sketching on the deck while the kids played. Hollin was blowing bubbles. Her expressions were so joyful, it was as if she was seeing bubbles for the first time or seeing something truly magical. While all this was taking place we were being visited by quite a few chickadees. They were hopping around on the rails and feeders. I think they were interested in the bubbles, they just seemed so curious. All those birds and bubbles just got me thinking...

So cut it up and make a book or keep it as is? Decision making is not my strong point:)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Small Frame Mosaics

Bright sunlight and big picture windows need lots of colorful glass, don't you agree? We have been busy making mosaics the last couple of days. This is a "Waylon's naptime" project--he likes to taste all art materials and I really do not want small shards of glass in his mouth. You can often get small scraps of colored glass from a stained glass store. All the pieces I have were already small so I did not need to cut any glass. If you don't have access to glass shards, or don't wish to risk cut fingers, you can use the little round glass bubbles in the floral department of a craft store.

We used an old picture frame and some Elmer's glue. The clear frame glass was left in the frame as a background on which to stick the colored pieces of glass. We used a few beads and a seashell or two as well. I have found that Elmer's glue works very well on glass for indoor use. Everyone has it and there are no fumes.

I opted not to grout as a final step as you would with a traditional mosaic. We may work our way up to that but for now we are sticking to glue and glass.
For what it is worth, there were no cut fingers, just lots of concentration and fine motor tuning.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Wood Sculptures

I have a bin where I keep little scraps of wood, interesting pieces of cardboard, toothpicks, popsicle sticks, dowels, etc. I pulled it out the other day, along with some Elmer's glue and let Hollin go to town building.  She was completely set on making a dog. The black pieces, which were ripped off the back of a picture frame, were going to be the ears. But as she played around with the various pieces a rocket was born! It is always exciting when something just begs to be made and I am so glad she had that experience. This was 100% kid generated--the idea, the construction and the painting.
I love the way she used toothpicks to represent the fire coming out of the bottom.
When it dried she made the decision to add another layer of paint. I love the sense of ownership and pride that comes from creating something completely on one's own. No one told her what to do, nor was there a model to try to emulate. As a result there was no frustration or disinterest-only pure creative enjoyment. Kids are capable of such brilliantly creative ideas.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Our Ice Sculpture

Well, here it is. The most fun was removing the round ice from the balloons. After you cut off the ends, the balloon just peels off and out pops a lovely little ice jewel. After we removed everything from the molds we just stacked them up. We did not even need to spray water in between the pieces because it was warm enough that there was some wet melty ice and all the pieces stuck together nicely. I really would like to do this on a much larger scale. It would be a great school project or something to do with a group of friends.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ice Sculptures--Part 1

It is that magical time of year in Fairbanks when the sun is bright, the days are longer and warmer, and the ice park is here. The kids' ice park runs alongside the World Ice Art Championships which is one of my very favorite things about living in Alaska. The sculptures are amazing and playing at a park made entirely out of ice is not something anyone should live without doing. With season passes, we plan to spend lots of time there until it closes at the end of March.

Since we cannot be there 24 hours a day, we decided to make a few sculptures out of ice for the yard. I did not give the kids sharp tools and hot irons to carve and sculpt with, instead we went with more kid friendly tools such as balloons, cups, bowls, colored water, glitter, beads, found objects and spray bottles. My plan is to build with several small pieces of ice rather than carve away from a larger block of ice.
This is a 2 part project since you have to make your ice before you can build with it.

 As you can see we just poured colored water into molds and added "stuff". It was a warm enough day to go without mittens and survive a few splashes. It was a major mess, but well worth it I hope! I hope to show you part 2 in the next few days.