'Tis the Season

'Tis the Season
Holidays, Festivities, Family and Friends
We're right in the mix of it now!

The next couple weeks are my favorite time of year.  
There is this sense of magic that just seems to float in the air.  Watching your kids discover this is one of the most amazing things.

 We've got up our Christmas trees. Ornaments have been strategically placed this year. The bottom of the tree is lined with wooden or plush ornaments, half of which already line the floor.  The boys have their own tree which stands 2 feet off the ground, perfect height to decorate and continually re-decorate daily.

Pulling the Christmas ornaments out is like opening an album of memories.  I've had enough ornaments to decorate my own tree before I even had a house to put my own tree in.  My mom gives everyone ornaments every Christmas, usually tied on your wrapped gift.  Little jingle bells with our names painted on them, new house ornament, new baby for corresponding years.

Cy had to look and see what every ornament was, Sage just explored what this big tree with lights was.  

And of course the cookie cutters came out.  Actually I had to dig them out of Cy's things, he's been making his own coloring sheets tracing different shape holiday cookie cutters.

But I got in trouble because after they were cooled I put most in a bag and threw them in the freezer. ( I make 2-3 kinds every weekend in December so then they can all be pulled out right before Christmas) Cyrus did not like the idea of giving Santa Claus a frozen cookie.  We had to explain they'd be thawed for him.  I didn't give him the explanation Santa probably wouldn't like a 4 week old cookie if we left it out.  Ha, kids.  
We're looking forward to our upcoming weekend line up annual Christmas parade on Friday and Korv party at great grandma's & grandpa's.  Looking forward to making more memories with these little boys as they discover the magic of Christmas.


Explore Art: Me

So usually Wednesday's are my Explore Art Project days, featuring new projects Cy has been working on.  Today I have something a little bit different.  Today is a little bit about me.

Art is something that has played an important role in my life and I believe helped to shape who I am.  For as far back as I can remember I've always had this desire to make and create things.  Art has been an outlet for me to channel energy into that gives me a sense of fulfillment and allows me to feel creative.

I have my Bachelor's degree in Visual Arts, I've dabbled in everything from drawing, painting, printmaking and ceramics.  I also enjoy crafting, sewing and re- purposing.  It is fun to fuse all of those things together into different projects.  

With young children it's often hard to find the time to make my own art.  I feel blessed I've been able to share and enjoy my love and world of art with Cy through our projects and sometimes open art session where we'll just sit and each draw, color or paint.  Over the past couple year's I've started some "children's paintings" which I'm going to share a few with you.

If you're familiar with Rousseau's The Dream, this is a wall mural in the kids' playroom inspired by that painting:

I replaced the naked lady on the couch with an alligator.  Finished somewhere in 2008, Cy was still pretty little, I'd sneak in while he slept to paint.

Little Footstool that Could:
I guess I never took a finished picture there is now an outline along the rim with the legs painted.  It is the official potty step stool.

Some Bunny Loves You rocker:

Donated rocking chair for the Heritage House, Daycare Auction 2009.

Under the Big Top Toy Chest:

Heritage House Auction 2010.  I liked the finished product but it was quite the under taking especially 6 months pregnant at the time crawling on the floor to paint it.

And one more, Patchwork of Love Horse:

Heritage House Auction 2011.  This one was more my size!  Patchwork inspired rocking horse, again I never take finished photos, the holes in the head were finished with yarn hair.

So there's a little bit about me and my art, or more how I still find art projects that allow me to a creative outlet.


Thanksgiving Kids Table- 2 years ago
So I've been a little less here and more there lately.  Although I'm not sure I could tell you where here or there is!

Life has taken us into a whirl wind once again as it often does.  I am still in denial that in less than two days it will be Thanksgiving.  Good thing I'm not hosting!  And after that an onslaught of Christmas preparation.  I've been holding Cyrus off at bay about Christmas decorations, promising the Saturday after Thanksgiving.  But too quickly that is now approaching.

The weekend came and went and honestly the past couple of days have just been mushed together.  By the time appropriate parties have all been picked up in the evening delivered home and fed the night's just about over.  

Baby Thor has be coaxed to bed by 7 p.m. because honestly I think he finally looses the strength to fight it. (He's still only on about an 1 1/2 hour nap daily) He looks so angelic with his little eye lids closed so tight and lips puckered out. 

Captain Cyrus has been a manic 4 year old, either suffering from early onset cabin fever, the holiday rush or just too much energy and not enough daylight to get it all out.  Luckily we've snuck some alone time before bed to read his favorite "stories". 

Let the Thanksgiving countdown begin. I'm looking forward to a day not so much of rest, but a day to just take for ourselves.  Enjoy family, friends and good food.  I'm sure there will be a few melt downs along the way, it wouldn't be a holiday with out them, but in the process I hope my boys will gain some lasting memories. 


Friday Finds: Turkeys!

Hand print turkeys on burlap, painted cardboard backing with macaroni beads.

Toddler art hand print applique.  This was too cute and you know it would make a great gift.

Turkey/ Color Lesson (Grouping) not a hand print turkey but I'm sure you could do it either way.

Gobble, Gobble hope you enjoy the weekend :)


Explore Art Projects: Pop Art Turkey Hand Prints

Today we are going to talk about Pop Art, Andy Warhol and Hand Print Turkeys. Oh My!

We discussed Pop art is the Jasper John's alphabet collage project.  For a refresher pop art is an art movement that gained popularity in the 1960's.  It used famous, recognizable images of mass media, advertising to make art.  It redefined and questioned what is art.

Pop art is such a fun art movement to look at and discuss with children.  Not only do they both ask why alot, but children will be engaged by recognizing images, how they play with images and color often used in Pop art.
Andy Warhol is one of the most well known American Pop artists, notably for his Campbell soup cans and portraits.  He continually played with the idea of repeating and reproducing the same image.

Warhol in his early career worked with a blotted line technique, creating an image on one side of the paper and then folding it in half to reproduce it on the other side.  He later started working with silk screening, rolling ink across to get the same image but just slightly different every time.

Warhol's Marilyn Monroe portraits used the silk screening process.  Here's a few questions to pose when discussing this image with your child.  Look at how the image, portrait of Marilyn is repeated.  How does he use color in the painting?  What kind of color did he use? What do you think of these portraits?

Here's a worksheet I used with my Explore Art Class, containing the images used above along with some ideas for discussion:

Turkey Time:
Now on to today's project: Pop art/ Andy Warhol inspired Turkey Hand Prints.  I did this project with Cy and the Explore Art class, the kids were really into it as they are getting ready for thanksgiving.  This is also something most of them have done before either in school or at home.  They were comfortable with the project and open to learning more about our featured artist and how we were going to make Pop art.

  • Colored Paper
  • Washable Paint
  • Crayons
  • Accessories of your choice ex. feathers, googly eyes
We started with a Complementary Color Lesson, which was part of last week's post.  See both the Complementary Color Lesson post and how we put this to use with hand prints in the Complementary Hand print/ Thankful Tree post.  If you're working with a younger child or don't have time for the color theory lesson just let them pick what ever color hand prints that want!

Here's the worksheet we used in class:
You need at least 4 paint stamped hand prints on the same size square paper.  Keep with an even number 4, 6 or 8 to get the grid look like Andy Warhol's portrait painting.

Relating this project to Pop art talk with your child about using bright, non traditional colors like Andy Warhol did and how you are repeating the image, hand print just like he did in his art. 

Once your hand prints have had enough time to dry it's time to make them into turkeys!  I didn't give too much instruction at this point.  Let the kids figure it out, have fun and explore in their own way.  I provided feathers which we cut down to be about the size of their fingers, crayons and googly eyes.  Elmer's glue assembled everything.

There you go!  Everyone had fun making beaks, waddles, feet and gluing on eyes and feathers.  They didn't necessarily have all the turkeys match but that is the fun of it.  And just like Warhol's work each one in slightly different. 

Stop back for Friday's Art Finds for more great Turkey Project Ideas I've found on other blogs.


Friday Finds: Explore Art Color Focused Projects

A Look Back.....
To go with Wednesday's complementary color project, here's a few explore art projects we've done that focus on colors.

Jean Arp inspired "chance collages" focusing on primary and secondary colors.  Let your kids rip and toss paper to learn color wheel relationships!

Robert Delaunay inspired collages using tissue and contact paper.  A great lesson on the artist and how primary colors make secondary colors- hands on as kids layer circles and then lift it up to see what colors they made!

Playdough recipe , playdough is a great every day medium that let's kids get hands on and explore both color and texture.

See more art projects and lessons under EXPLORE ART section!


Parenting Thursday: Chances are......

If you give your 1 year old a cupcake.......
He's going to dive right in.
He'll go for the frosting.

Which will get all over his face.
When he gets it on his face it'll leave a frosting mustache.

He might go in for another bite and eat the paper.
This wont stop him, he'll go until the frosting is gone.

And chances are if the frosting is gone it is all over him and you!

If you tell your 4 year old to pretend he's a king.....
He's going to ask you for a crown.
He'll ask you for some construction paper and ask you to cut one out.

Then he'll need some markers to color it in.
Once he has a crown he'll need a staff.
He'll get excited when you find a paper towel roll to wrap it in construction paper.
He'll need his markers again.

Once he has his crown and his staff he'll need a cape.
Good thing grandma made him one with his name!

Chances are once he's dressed as a king, he'll turn daddy into a knight!


Explore Art Projects: Complementary Hand Prints/ Thankful Tree

Today's post is Part II of Complementary Colors.  Make sure and read Part I for a brief overview of the color wheel and complementary colors.

Complementary Handprints
For an art project to incorporate complementary colors I had Cy make handprints.  We used four different colors of paper, red, blue, green and purple.  If I did this project again I'd use only the 3 primary colors for paper.

I explained to Cy what complementary colors were, the colors opposite of each other on the color wheel, while we looked at a color wheel.  I picked a color and asked him to find the opposite color or complementary color on the color wheel.  Then we moved on to the paper.  I got out the paint we were going to use and laid out all the pieces of paper.  

Cy then had to find the complementary color in paint for each piece of paper.  He lined them up getting ready to make our hand prints.

I actually painted Cy's hand with a wide brush to then let him print it on the paper.  Only in part because his washable paints were running too low to pour out on a plate and let him smoosh his hands in.  Similar to finger painting this is a great hands on art experience!

He got a few hand prints on each piece of paper and we set them aside to dry.

Thankful Tree
I wanted to do something with these complementary hand prints to extend the lesson and fun.  What better than a Thankful Tree with the handprints as the leaves.  (now my husband might disagree because the tree landed roots in our living room)

Taking a roll of the brown packaging paper I unrolled enough to trace Cy's body laying down.  He was the actual tree.  He laid down and extended his arms up just like branches. (that is the dog in the corner wondering what in the world are we doing)

I traced him and then went back in for some tree bark details, running lines throughout the tree.  And cut it out.  Cy picked a corner of the living room and up went the tree with a little tape.

With the tree up we went back to the complementary hand prints, cutting each one out to then be our leaves.  I took 5 of them and wrote out a letter of Cyrus's name so he could then arrange them in order.
I rolled tape on the back of the hand prints and Cy got to put them up.

We also added a few more paper shapes for leaves to write down things we are thankful for.  Cy came up with toys, nice things, teachers, helping mommy, crayons, and family. Gotta love it!

Working art concepts into your child's art making can be as simple as painted hand prints, matching crayons or just a discussion about colors and their relationships as they are working.  Get Hands on Art, develop an appreciation for art, your little artist and quality time spent with the two.

Enjoy! Next week Hands on Art goes Pop. With turkey hand prints inspired by Andy Warhol see you Wednesday.


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