Thursday, January 31, 2013

Felt art

A couple of weeks ago, I was working on a hand-sewn project when one of my little girls wandered in to hang out with me. While we chatted, she watched my every stitch. 

I wondered if she'd like to give sewing a whirl.

We went to Walmart and picked up several sheets of felt and some matching embroidery floss, plus a large-eyed, easy-to-thread needle. When we came home, I showed her how to thread a needle, how to knot the end of her floss, and a very basic running stitch

She was ready to roll:

This is now a favorite activity of hers, and it keeps her busy for hours.


For kidlings that are a little too young to use a needle and shears, consider making some sewing cards: punch holes in a thin piece of cardboard (like a cereal box) with a hole punch, and let them practice the ins and outs with a shoelace or a piece of yarn. They'll love being just like mom.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tips for Painters

Here is a good tip for keeping art/craft time fun, neat, and cost-effective.

When working with acrylic paints, you will find that, unlike watercolors, they are not water-soluble once dry. But what do you do with all the blobs of paint that are left over when craft time is done?

Drip a drop or two of clean water onto the blob of paint, set the paint cups (we use old peanut butter or mayo lids) onto a tray and put the whole thing into a zipper bag. Seal the bag up and you can leave it for a day or two without it drying out.

Here are a few other tips to remember when using acrylic paints:

  • Acrylic paint is good to use on heavy paper, paper board, canvas and wood crafts. It will not stick to glossy surfaces such as glass or plastic. 
  • Acrylic paint will not wash out once dry! Wear a paint shirt or old clothing. If paint gets on your good clothes, rinse them in cold water right away to help remove the paint and prevent a stain. Same goes for carpet. Avoid painting in a carpeted room if possible, or use a drop cloth to keep the carpets clean. 
  • Remember to wash brushes right away.
  • Acrylic paints mix well and can be thinned with water. 
Have fun painting!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Creative babies

Babies are naturally creative, too!

Creativity, in its infancy, comes in the form of learning how things sound, look, smell, taste, feel, and what they do.

"What will happen if I smoosh this... or hit that - with this? Stretch this?"

Stimulate your little one's imagination at a tender age!

Some "toys" that encourage exploration and yield satisfying results for the infant artist:

~ wooden spoons and metal bowls and pans, for music-making
~ small boxes, for stacking (and toppling)
~ mealtimes, for "finger-painting" and a variety of textures and tastes
~ hiding-and-finding games with mama or siblings, for problem-solving
~ a mirror, for self-study
~ someone to read brightly illustrated stories, for literary development
~ the family's piano, lullabies, and recorded music, for singing, dancing, and composing
~ people who laugh and cheer at baby-antics, for performance

No need for expensive computerized learning toys and posh private pre-schools. Everything your prodigy needs is right there at home already.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Project Idea -- mixed media pictures

Get your kids inspired with a few cut-up sponges, some poster paint, paper and glue...and look at the kind of art they can do:

Sponge painting is so easy. All you have to do is dip and dab! Start with a slightly damp (not drippy) square of sponge, dip into the paint and dab onto the paper. Add details to the painting with pieces of construction paper, like the sun's rays in this project.

What will your kids create with paint and sponges?