Just saw this at a friend’s house the other day. A friend of my friend had just finished her student teaching and was given this unique piece of art as a farewell gift.
I was so intrigued by the work that I decided to share it here.
It’s very simple to do, (so I was told, I don’t profess to have made it) –
• Glue crayons to canvas.
• Blow hot air from a hair dryer over the crayons.
• The heat will make the wax spread, creating this fabulous piece of artwork.
• PS – note that they glued the crayons so that you could see the name of each color.
Simple, unique, beautiful, creativity. My favorite kind of crafting!
Several months ago, my dear friend, Cydnee had been to a home concert of Indie artist, Sarah Sample. Sarah makes her living as a singer/songwriter and Cydnee, a very talented musician, set up a house concert which I was able to attend last month.
It was a brilliant evening of socializing, eating and celebrating art and music. What a nice way to spend a night. I wonder why more people don’t do these types of activities. I know they did years ago before we “plugged in” and art forms became things that we observed rather than participated in.
This is Cyndee at her piano, she performed several songs that I enjoyed immensely (I’ve always been a fan of her work).
When we walked into her house, I thought, “wow, did Cyd get some new art?” I forgot that part of the evening was to show off Melissa Gaddis-Simkulet’s beautiful work.
They put out a spread and we socialized, passed a hat for Sarah and then enjoyed a lovely concert. Sarah did a showcase of her work after Cydnee. She is a brilliant lyricist, I was quite impressed with the depth of her songs. Her work can be found here.
It was such a special evening and I’ve been pondering it since, trying to think of ways to encourage friends and family to share their creative pursuits. Any ideas?
I am such a fan of the Usborne Books. I first found one in the library and then another, and then another and began to notice that I kept checking out books by the same company. They are beautiful books, full of pictures and colors and yet they are very simple.
The Usborne Publishing company was founded in the UK in 1973 and they publish all sorts of books for children – fiction, non-fiction, etc. on a broad range of topics. Their website can be found here. While I am not intending to sell their books, I do recommend taking a look at them. I think that they are very user friendly for families.
Recently I asked for two of the drawing paperbacks for Christmas (I know, a geeky gift and I’m sure that my sis-in-law thought that I was a nut-case!) I am such a wretched artist, but I want to learn at least more than stick-figures. I’ve purchased some drawings for idiots type of books, but they were so complicated that I wasn’t up to the task. I was impressed with these books and how easily the steps were outlined.
My daughters are as fond of them as I am. My six-year-old loves drawing and doing the activities and my three-year-old “reads” them to herself, sitting and making up stories.
I believe that it is VERY important that as parents, we provide non-electronic (i.e. movies, video games, music, etc) activities for our children whenever possible. They need to learn how to be unplugged as much as they need to learn how to be plugged in!
What non-electronic activities do your children do?
Any similar art book suggestions, especially “boy” books ?
Last Saturday we went to an Art Show at BYU. My five year old was an ANGEL! (She also did really well at the Nutcracker ballet when she was a few months shy of turning four.) I think that children, even young ones (ages 4-6), can do very well at live events (concerts, plays, shows, etc.) IF;
They are given expectations ahead of time.
They are given background information (this music was used in that movie, or remember when we saw this picture, here are some more like it).
They are given things to look for/listen to.
They are taken to things that are relatively age appropriate.
We remember their specific limitations. (For example, my two year old wasn’t an angel at the art museum, but it was during her nap time, after all).
Here are some ideas about expectations for different events.
Rules at art museums are in place to ensure that the art is kept in good condition and so that patrons can quietly meditate. Often art has a spiritual or religious nature to it or it has been created to understand/process a difficult topic.
Follow the posted rules and guidelines.
Don’t TOUCH the art!
Typically no food, drink, gum, etc.
Usually no photography (flashes can damage some paintings).
Children should stay with parent/guardians the entire time (no running around, etc.)
Be aware of others around you – respect their space.
Ask me lots of questions 🙂 I’ll often stand with my girls and ask them to tell me what they see, or ask them to look for things. For example –pick your favorite piece of art and tell me why you like it.
If I don’t know the answer, and as they get older I’m sure I won’t, we’ll ask the attendant/curators questions.
Typically classical music performances are more formal than other musical concerts (rock, country music, etc.), but an understanding of the etiquette guidelines will help concert goers to feel comfortable. Help your child to understand that the performers have worked really hard (put in hours of practice) to get ready for the performance.
Dress – typically dress at a concert is formal to semi-formal (think of how one would dress when going to church, synagogue or place of worship).
Arrive and find your seat five to ten minutes early. An usher will help you find your place. Quiet conversation is fine until the lights dim. If you arrive late, you will not be allowed to enter until intermission.
Program – You are usually given a program. Though these are FULL of advertisements, there are usually some very helpful and educational program notes that are worth reading.
Stay in your seats – unless there is an emergency. There is usually an intermission in which you can get up, stretch, use the facilities, etc.
No talking during the performance. Also no cell phones, texting, eating, drinking, popping gum, etc. (Basically, show respect to the performers and those around you.)
Clapping – Usually after a performance there is a quiet moment in which all enjoy the magic of what just occurred. Then the audience claps, sometimes shouts “bravo”, and at times gives a standing ovation when the work was particularly good. Follow the audience as to appropriate times to clap (sometimes there are pauses between pieces (movements) when the audience does not clap).
Outdoor “Pops” Concerts – these concerts are less formal (dress is more casual, picnicking is sometimes allowed) but good manners are still expected.
Shows – Musicals, Operas, Ballet –
The rules are typically the same for these performances as those for a concert. Again –
Make sure that the content is appropriate (will it be entertaining for the child?)
Make sure that the length is appropriate (shows can last for two or more hours. Very young children fidget after 10 minutes. )
Introduce the children to the subject matter/story ahead of time – help them understand the story, listen to the music, give them things to look for.
A great idea is to show DVD/Video performances ahead of time, so that your children are familiar with the content.
Often there will be special children friendly performances which will be shorter or geared toward the kids. Look out for these.
Introducing children to cultural activities is beneficial to your child, your family, and society because it gives them;
Appreciation for things of beauty and culture.
Manners – the realization that there are codes of behavior – ways to act that are appropriate in different situations.
Dressing up and going to an event makes kids feel special. It’s exciting and fun!
An understanding that there are many wonderful and beautiful things in the world.
Hopefully in our fast-paced society, it will give them moments to stop and reflect quietly. (Children need time learn to think. I loved driving around in the car as a young girl, my parents would play classical music, and I would look out the windows and just think.)
It’s worth the time and effort to help your children learn to appreciate cultural events!
*Modern albumen print from wet plate collodion negative by Mathew Brady Studio. Taken with permission from Flicker with CC license by Cliff1066.
Last week we went to dinner at the *Moseman’s house, (*name changed to protect the innocent, and not so innocent :)). After a great dinner, we were sitting around eating “cutie” oranges (the kind that are so easy to peel). The kids (five of them ages 6-18) were peeling their oranges in really elaborate designs. Later, I saw that the peel was on the Christmas tree, and I laughed about it, until I noticed that there were a lot of peels on the Christmas tree.
When I pressed the issue, I was told that the girls of the family decorated the tree in orange peels this year. I love it! I love that the kids are allowed to do their wacky ideas in that house. The thing that’s really amazing about this family is that the father and grandfather build airplanes. Not model airplanes, but real two passenger airplanes in the barn in their backyard.
Yeah, as in “See ya later Ma, I’m just going to go out and build an airplane with Dad, be back for dinner!”
We had the dinner with the Mosman Grandparents and the grand matriarch, let’s call her Maggie, asked me to look at a book that her daughter had written and illustrated. The design of the children’s book took my breath away, and even more shocking was the fact that this daughter had written it when she was a teenager.
The house was full of inventions, design, and creativity. I asked Maggie how she taught her children to be so creative, and she said that it was because she and her husband were creative. But I need to add that these people were not just the “idea” type of people, but the “doing” people as well. The couple possessed the twin virtues of vision and work ethic – and the kids followed suit.
I told Maggie a little about my oldest daughter (who calls herself an artist). Maggie told me that in order to encourage her, I should go to the store, buy some mats, and frame her work.
A couple of days later, my daughter drew a picture for me and wrapped it up as a present. I took Maggie’s advice, and bought a frame. When I showed the frame to “J”, she looked like her five-year-old heart would burst with joy and gave me a gigantic hug.
When I asked the Orange Peel father (Maggie’s son) about writing this post and how often the girls decorate for holidays, he said that they are fanatic about it, “doing up the home” with wonderful wacky children mayhem for every holiday. I asked if he was OK with it, and he said, “you think I could stop them?”
I guess orange peels on the tree serve a grand purpose after all, your kids just might end up being the next Wright Brothers!
My daughter’s 5th birthday loomed, and try as I might, I had absolutely no money. Please don’t think that I’m being modest, I literally had nothing after our check went to bills and necessities.
I thought to myself – “Ok, I’m a creative woman, I can do this!” So I went around the night before and put together a party. I needed decorations, cake, party food, activities for the kids, and some sort of gift bag for the guests. (I figured that was bare minimum for a party.)
I figured out what resources I had. Do you remember the movie “Princess Bride” when they are getting ready to storm the castle and Westly says, “why didn’t you list that among our assets?”
First, think about what you have. Old Christmas wrapping/ribbon? Kid’s art supplies? Paper and pencils? Use what you have, the stuff you were saving for a special project. It’s special project day!
I told you in an earlier post that I have LOTS of beautiful scrap booking paper on the shelf, that I am no longer using. So I cut out the words -HAPPY BIRTHDAY and my daughter’s name. I liked some of the patterns on the papers and so I cut them into squares and other shapes and hung them with tape on the walls (just random patterns and orders).
My daughter was at a sleep over at her cousin’s house, and so I worked on the party that night when everyone was asleep. When she came in for her party – she was amazed!!! So much so that after the party, she hung the decorations up in her room.
Other ideas for decorations –
Have your guests make artwork when they come and hang it up, say you’re having an “art show.” Then they could take their masterpieces home, or you could “auction” their pieces.
Have the guests make the decorations from construction paper (or any other paper you may have.)
Go outside – what do you have? Flowers? Pretty leaves? Rocks? (your guests could paint rocks – they’d love it!) Dandelions? Even those dandelions would look nice, tied up in some ribbon or in some small vases.
Toys – they can be great decorations. You could have a “toy store” and have the guests take turns buying and selling the toys.
My mom always made the most amazing cakes for our birthdays. One year she made a cake based on Eugene Field’s poem The Sugar Plum Tree, there was a giant tree branch on the cake and candies were tied to it everywhere.
But I didn’t have that. I had a cake mix and some candy. I decided to make a castle cake, and again didn’t have all of the ingredients for a typical cake (you know, ice cream cones for the towers, etc.) So again, scrap book paper to the rescue!
I just split a regular (9″x13″) chocolate cake in half. Then I slathered (don’t you love that word) basic butter cream frosting Frosting Recipes in-between the layers and frosted the outside.
For the turrets, I rolled up the card stock and glued it together. Then cut up circles out of paper.
My niece loved it so much, she made paper princesses for the cake.
A few weeks later my two year old had her birthday. I RUINED the train cake that I was making for her and so I made a regular (9″x13″) cake and we decorated it with polly pockets, different frosting colors and (wouldn’t you know it) leftover easter candy. She loved it. Mostly because I let the girls help me decorate.
You could do it with action figures or toy cars as well. Homemade cakes and frosting almost always taste better anyway.
What do you have? Remember Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving special? Peppermint Patty wanted a thanksgiving dinner and Charlie and Snoopy came up with – buttered toast, pretzels, ice cream sundaes, popcorn and jelly beans.
In my case, I did a veggie tray and some fruit (to counteract the sweets). Kids don’t typically care. We did cheese sandwiches and apple juice one year at a “tea party.” Any fruit and veggies look beautiful when freshly cut and arranged on a plate. My favorite dip is Ranch dressing.
I made a list of things that we could do.
Butcher paper on the tables and brown paper bags were set up for art fun when they arrived. I had them decorate the table and the brown sack became their goody bag.
It was Easter time and so we had left over candy and eggs – yay! Easter egg hunt!
I had several other games –
Duck, duck goose
Hide and seek
Pass the present (wrap a present in lots of layers. Each time the music stops, the child holding it will open a layer. the winner is the one who opens the final layer).
Dance and freeze game (dance until the music stops, if you don’t freeze, you’re out).
Question game (I put the kids on teams and they answered questions for points. I had differing ages so I had easy –what color is a firetruck?, and hard – Who is the president of the US? questions.)
Use library books to find games that will fit your ages, needs and budget. With a little planning you can find a lot of entertaining games that will keep everyone laughing.
I’m no “Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences” able to give away swag bags. Did I mention that I had NO budget ;)? I looked through my closets and cupboards and decided that as well as the candy easter eggs, I could make chocolate chip cookies for their take home bags.
I made little packages by wrapping three cookies in saran wrap and tying it with ribbon. Then I took my handy scrap booking paper and made home made “thank you” cards.
Again, look round. What do you have? Can the kids make a take home item? Maybe they could make cookies. We love to make snickerdoodles because I usually have all of the ingredients on hand and the kids can help me roll the dough in sugar.
Speaking of having things on hand, I have two “standby” Emergency Party Recipes that I make whenever we have a function to go to and I need to bring something but have no money to get anything special. (Are you sensing that this is a theme with me?)
Now, it’s not going to win a Martha Stewart award or anything, but my daughter was SO happy because I had taken time and put effort into her day. I also made a silly crown and my sister had curled her hair and pampered her at the sleep over.
Another thing that I did was made a card and wrote about all the special things that I loved about her. She had me read it to her 10 times that day.
If I didn’t have a modest present, I would have made a coupon book for her. You know, good for:
In home movie night
Home mannys and peddys (or mani/pedi)
Trip to the Library
1/2 hour -your choice – fun time
It just needs to be full of activities that are HEAVY on your time.
It’s not a theme or expensive birthday, but it’s what we had.
So, please share some ideas of yours. What party time ideas have you done “in a pinch” and “on the dime”?
My daughter just got Moonsand for her birthday. It was fun to play with and molded well. In doing some research before she played with it, I found a recipe for homemade moonsand which seems like it would be really easy to make. The ingredients are sand, cornstarch, and water. I’ve played with cornstarch and water before and it’s a blast! (With cornstarch and water, you have to constantly work the cornstarch in your hands, once you stop, it will blob down into a liquid again). So I imagine that the three together, with a little food coloring would be great.
I also read about some Mom’s using moonsand to make sand castles or using hot-wheels cars to do a motorcross track. Sounds like a great snow/rainy-day activity or something fun if you don’t have a beach around. It would be fun to put into a kid’s plastic swimming pool for a new adventure.
I also read that some parents were having problems getting it out of carpets – so be forewarned, do it in a non-carpeted area.
Any other ideas about sculpting, art, and creative play?
We have multi-family Sunday dinners at my house bi-weekly. With 11 grandchildren, things get crazy quickly. So, I decided that to keep the little munchkins happy (and quiet) that some sort of craft might help. I had paper in abundance (pictures from magazines, paper, scissors, crayons, glue, etc.) and thought that some sort of paper activity would be good. So, I got a small spiral-bound, lined notebook and put their names on each one.
I began by trying to give them things to do, papers to fill out.
Then I tried to do things, like have them decorate a tree at Christmas time.
I began to notice that while they humored me and did the pages the way that I directed, they enjoyed themselves much more when I just let them take over themselves. All I do now is provide supplies (including magazine cut-outs) and they go crazy, in a wonderfully quiet way!
The younger kids practice cutting, gluing, and scribbling and the older kids can do artwork that is more on their level.
The oldest (ten at the time) even began writing her own story to go along with her artwork.
It’s been an amazing way to not only calm the drama, but allow for the girls of all ages and abilities to work together. Best of all, it has given them a place to go to foster their creative genius! Most Sundays they come running up to me and say “Hey Aunt Ryss, are we going to do notebooks today?” I usually say, “Absolutely! Just help me clear the table.” It makes everyone happy.