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Since I didn’t post hardly at all over the spring and summer, I guess I should fill in a few of the things we made and did. I took a lot of pictures with the intention of posting here but somehow in a lazy summer stupor it never happened. (I blame the heat!)

We did a lot of painting. A LOT.

We started a toddler art group and painted outside with hands and feet on big paper.

We stacked and glued pompoms. (This was entirely her idea/design/execution.)

We made sculptures with play dough and tooth picks.

We tinkered with stuff from the recycling bin and ended up with a pretty cool house for “guys”, complete with secret hiding places and a jail.

We made our own Harry Potter wands by finding the perfect stick and covering it with Mod Podge. (This one was a HUGE hit.)

And that, my friends, is a brief history of some of the things we did in the spring. Next up, a few of the things from summer.

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Jean at The Artful Parent is hosting guest posts this month and today I wrote a little something about an experiment we recently tried.  Thanks Jean for putting it up there with all of the wonderful guest posts.  What an honor to be a part of your blog, which I have loved for many years.

Now if I was a good blogger I would have had this post up this morning to welcome any visitors from her site.  But, since I am decidedly a sporadic blogger at best, hopefully this late evening note will suffice.

And, with that, I will leave you with a picture (totally unrelated, from the summer!) of the kids painting with cornstarch (one of the many ways we use it around here).

Cornstarch Paint

 

Hearts

We had a little reunion of some of our old art group members (did I ever even post anything about that…hmm, maybe not) and it was a rockin’ wild time.  Eleven kids, two babies and seven adults in our tiny house, plus paint, toys and a short dance party = good fun.  We did an easy little project with coffee filters cut in the shape of hearts colored with liquid watercolors.  The kids and I tried this out earlier in the week, twice actually.  The first time we diluted the liquid watercolors with water and it made very pale pink hearts.  The second time we used full strength watercolors and the hearts were much more vibrant.  We taped them up in the window, next to the coffee filter snowflakes a la The Artful Parent.  All in all the house looks very festive, especially since there is still a good bit of pink streamer from the big girl’s birthday above the window.  Here are a few shots from today, didn’t get any action shots because I was too busy trying to keep the watercolors off the carpet as much as possible.

Hearts

Hearts

I kept the paint choices to two colorways — cool and warm. I divided the paints in a plastic egg carton cut into two palettes of six sections each. We used sponges to dab, brushes to paint, and eye droppers to drip. The sponges were the most effective with the age group we had (2-4 yrs) — some of the younger ones were dropper-ing huge puddles onto their work. Luckily I had put down some of the brown contractor’s paper, which is surprisingly absorbent.  The only problem I had was finding a place to dry all of the work — we had one particularly prolific painter this morning.  Our “studio” is on the back porch with the cold weather we had to work inside, so there was brown contractor’s paper on the kitchen floor and brown cardboard boxes around the dining room table where we worked.  (Oh, and sorry for the pictures, I need to be less lazy and use the better camera instead of my phone.  Maybe next time, eh?)

Hearts

The kids love to get paint everywhere, and by everywhere I mean hands, arms, faces, etc.  I worry a little bit about what is in the paint though, even the non-toxic stuff.  So, I ordered some paint specifically for face and body painting, it is called Snazaroo.  Great name, eh?  I have no idea if it is better than the regular non-toxic stuff (more research needed) but at least it is designed to go on skin.

Face Paint

The little palette we ordered has been a huge hit.  The kids love for me to paint up their faces (mostly with butterflies) and even more, they love to paint themselves.  Legs, bellies, feet, arms — anything not covered by clothing becomes fair game. Added bonus: it is easy to wash off.

Face Paint

I’ve got a lot of backlog on projects I want to put up here.  Somehow having a third baby has slowed things down a bit.  But, happy to report that we are getting back into some sort of a routine and certainly enjoying our new little girl.

The kids have been painting quite a bit lately, the back porch is open as the studio again so there is more space to make a mess.  We recently tried marbleized prints in shaving cream with liquid watercolors, which was quite fun.  I didn’t really follow any particular plan, though I am sure somewhere in the back of my mind there was a project I had seen, probably over at The Artful Parent.

Shaving Cream Painting

I filled up a tray with shaving cream and Eleanor squirted in a few colors from the watercolor bottles.  Then she used a chopstick as a swirler.  My initial thought was, “don’t swirl too much or the colors will turn brown”, but she kept going and her prints were much more interesting than the first one I did as an example.

Shaving Cream Painting

After a few prints, it turned a bit more mad scientist — she added water and about half a bottle of the magenta watercolor when I was not watching. I guess I would have preferred that she used a smaller amount but she sure was having fun and, after all, I did leave the box out for her to get into!

Shaving Cream Painting

Normally I am not nearly this organized, but instead of working on my big project, the kids and I made Valentines today.  I figured it would be fun and they will likely need them for their classrooms at school come February.  I must admit, recently I have thought about Valentines a bit more than is probably normal.  I have wanted to use up some of my very small scraps of fabric that are too small to do anything with, so the idea of cutting hearts and glueing them to notecards seemed like a perfect solution.

Fabric Scraps

I put some liquid watercolor paint in with the glue, just to make it a bit more like painting for the kids, and the three of us spent a nice evening working on our project.  The cards were fairly glue heavy, but that was alright since we had a place to dry them.

Valentines

Henry started out adding the hearts but ended up enjoying just painting the notecards with painty glue.   I think they turned out pretty well, I plan to carve a “happy valentines day” stamp and have the kids (or at least Eleanor) sign their names on the back.  Good thing I have a whole month to get that part done!

Valentines

This is one of my favorite paintings Eleanor has brought home from school so far this year.  The person in blue is apparently me.  Just amazing to see how they go from scribbles to actual shapes based on reality.

School Work

I have a few pictures from ages ago that I had intended to post about but never got around to writing about so here is the quick and dirty on them:

Red, White and Blue Potato Salad

Red, white and blue potato salad from our July 4th celebration with blue potatoes from our garden and beets from the farmers market. (Really? The 4th of July! I am way behind.)

Liquid Watercolors on Coffee Filters

Liquid Watercolors on Coffee Filters

Watercolors on Coffee Filters

Several pictures of liquid watercolors on coffee filters that we put up in the window as sun catchers. The kids started with Q-tips and ended up folding and dipping the filters to expedite the process. (And these pictures are from June! Gasp!)

Bumbleberry Pie

A shot of one of my bumbleberry pies before the crumbly topping went on.

And with that, I am hoping to get to some new and more interesting stuff.

Drawing and Painting

We have been doing quite a bit of drawing lately, some painting, lots of cutting with scissors and even some installations (with paper and stickers on windows), too. Both kids become absorbed by the process of making marks on paper. Henry makes lots of small marks with an occasional long streak across the page. Eleanor uses circular motions, hard scribbling and even makes some very deliberate marks — mostly when Henry is asleep though. Marking tool of choice right now, for both kids, are these not-entirely-washable stinky scented markers.

Drawing and Painting

Installations have been created in various windows reached by standing on boxes of CDs or the couch, using cut pieces of paper, stickers and markers/colored pencils/crayons.

Drawing and Painting

Drawing and Painting

And, the other day while Henry was asleep, Eleanor painted a couple of “Mickey Mouses”, which involved two circles (ears? or eyes?) and a curved line, presumably the mouth. She did say that she was painting a neck on one of the pages — I think it was the one in the picture below. She is beginning to understand how to effectively use watercolor paint, which is much more translucent than the tempera she normally works with at school.

Drawing and Painting

I love to see them hard at work, engrossed in their own creative processes.

The other day, we got a large box in the mail.  I knew it would go to the recycling bin but decided that we could have a bit of fun with it first.  With a bit of tape and box cutter we had ourselves a little house.  The highlight of the afternoon though, was painting it.  I got out a paint roller and let them go to town.  I must say, Henry’s rain jacket hasn’t been quite the same since (washable only sort of means washable) but it was well worth it.

Cardboard House

Cardboard House

I really should have gotten a shot of the finished product. It was lovely, colorful and entertained us for an entire afternoon. But alas, recycling day was yesterday.