Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Dendritic Exchange

The title of this post makes it sound as though I have participated in some sort of medical procedure or scientific partnership.

In fact, I've just done a fun mail art exchange!

Awhile back, I shared with you the process of creating decorative papers using the dendritic painting method I watched at Atomic Shrimp.

Jewels, of Just Tickety-Boo, who first shared the video with me, initiated a mail art swap using the results of our dendritic painting experiments.

From the beginning, I imagined the shape of a person's head made out of the dendritic papers, since they look like neurons or nerve endings.  Then, I wanted to use inspiration from the wonderful collage and mail artist, Lenore Tawney, so I flipped through the book Signs on the Wind, and came away with this postcard to send to Jewels:
In return, Jewels sent me this postcard (tucked inside a fireworks-emblazoned envelope!):
Her use of the dendritic painting is much more subtle than mine, and you can definitely see how it adds to the layers of her background:
I love the vintage woman image--I have been scouring books and magazines for these kinds of vintage images, as I'm finding images of women and their roles from the 1930s to the 1950s very inspiring right now.

As an added compliment, Jewels told me that she chose the dictionary definition of the word "cheery" because she imagines it to be a word that describes me.  I certainly try to hang on to my cheeriness, so this is much appreciated!

I definitely feel some pressure when it comes to doing a mail art exchange, especially when there is an "assignment," such as using the dendritic papers.  But it is so very satisfying once the project is completed, and I have another piece of mail art from an online friend to add to my collection!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Attack of the Scrap Monsters!

Scrap monsters have taken over our home!

When I saw Courtney's video for scrap monsters, I had every intention of creating them on my own, and once my kids got a look at them, there was no stopping them from trying their hand at them, too.
First, I created body shapes and face features following Courtney's lead in her YouTube video.
In this totally un-staged photo, you can see the impromptu mess created by the whole process:
My daughters and I chose our favorite body shapes and covered them in decorative tapes, cutting around the edges when we were finished to get a clean edge:
I then followed Courtney's lead and outlined my monster with thick black Sharpie, though my girls declined this step (which was probably for the best, since we're talking about permanent ink here!).
The final step involves finding the face we want to match with our monster's body, and using pencils to add a little color:
Last night, we each created two monsters, for a total of six.  This morning, my girls took over, creating their own body shapes and face features, and creating even more.
They've named each monster, and created a kind of "profile" of their special talents and back stories.  They are most interested in laminating them to create "backpack buddies" (little toys and such that connect to the zippers of their backpacks), but I'm thinking they have a real future in Scrap Monster Trading Cards!  Don't you think?
I think they will make absolutely adorable stickers and journal embellishments.
The Scrap Monsters have taken over, 
and just might need their own room soon!

For more paper projects, check out my Collage and Assemblage and Paper Crafting boards on Pinterest!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Battling Summer Boredom

This past week on Facebook, I posted a picture of a list I have given my girls this summer in an effort to eliminate "the b-word" from their vocabulary.

That's "bored," in case you haven't already heard it a thousand times from your kids so far this summer!

The list is entitled, "Mom, I'm Bored!" There are two full pages of ideas for how they can spend their time (and "watching tv" and "playing computer games" do NOT make an appearance).

Last year, I gave them a similar list, but when they complained about being bored and I sent them to the list, they just said, "There's nothing on here I wanna do-ooo-ooo!" (You know that voice, right?)

So this year, I added a rule to the list: Before they can come to me and complain of being bored, they have to do at least three of the activities from the list for at least ten minutes each.  The goal is, of course, that something they end up doing will spark their interest and keep them busy for a lot longer than just ten minutes.

My Facebook friends were interested in getting a better look at just exactly what activities are on the list, so I thought I would create a blog post.

Here is the complete list of activity ideas:

“Mom, I’m bored!”

You can’t complain to Mom that you are bored until you’ve done at least 3 of the following things for 10 minutes each!

·         Read a book.
·         Write a story.
·         Create a magazine.
·         Bird-watch in the backyard.
·         Practice fancy lettering.
·         Draw a map.
·         Teach yourself to juggle.
·         Write a letter to a friend.
·         Play with Stella. [That's our cat.]
·         Make miniatures.
·         Put on a puppet show.
·         Make a collage of magazine pictures.
·         Make a set of ATCs. [These are Artist Trading Cards.]
·         Set up dominoes, then make them fall.
·         Playing a rhyming game with your sister.
·         Create a handmade book.
·         Read the Bible.
·         Make up similes (“___ is as quiet as a mouse,” “____ is as noisy as a train”).
·         Create decorations (rugs, pictures) for the big doll house.
·         Write in your diary.
·         Design your own flag.
·         Blow bubbles outside.
·         Play Simon Says with your sister.
·         Lay on your back outside and find pictures in the clouds.
·         Have a face-making competition with your sister in the mirror.
·         Play the smile game with your sister:  Don’t smile first!
·         Build a fort with a blanket or sheet.

·         Call a friend.
·         Play soccer in the backyard.
·         Play a musical instrument.
·         Draw a picture.
·         Write a message with words and phrases from magazines.
·         Make a greeting card.
·         Draw with stencils.
·         Practice cartwheels.
·         Play Scrabble with your sister.
·         Play “I Spy” with sounds or colors or letters.
·         Write a letter or poem using alphabet rubber stamps.  (Put a table cloth on the table first, and wear a smock!)
·         Make letters with Play-doh.
·         Run through the sprinkler.
·         Play at the water table in the backyard.
·         Play with the garden hose. 
·         Make a backyard field guide, drawing and describing all the plants, insects, and/or animals you see.
·         Turn on music and dance.
·         Play veterinarian with your stuffed animals.
·         Have a staring contest.  Don’t blink first!
·         Make lunch or a snack for your mom.
·         Sing a song.
·         Explore with a magnifying glass.
·         Use a flashlight in the closet to make a shadow show.
·         Dust the furniture.
·         Organize your toys.
·         Make a postcard.
·         Sort buttons.
·         Build something with LEGOs.
·         Do a bead project.
·         Do a rubber stamp project.  (Put a table cloth on the table first, and wear a smock!)
·         Have a fashion show.
·         Play a board game.
·         Play a card game (UNO, Crazy Eights, Old Maid, WAR, Go Snorkeling, Five Crowns)
·         Make up a new game.
·         Practice math with a calculator.
·         Memorize a Bible verse.
·         Invent something.
·         Create a scavenger hunt for your sister.
·         Jump rope.
·         Play hair salon.
·         Go ant-watching in the backyard.
·         Do a puzzle.
·         Construct or draw a maze.
·         Race cars.
·         Track the weather.
·         Start a collection.
·         Play with sidewalk chalk in the driveway.
·         Make a bookmark.
·         Make animals and other pictures from your thumbprint.
·         Play Follow the Leader with your sister.
·         Sweep the floors.
·         Color with crayons.
·         Make a sticker picture.
·         Have a tea party.

And on page two:
·         Write to your grandmother.  Or all of your grandmothers!
·         Vacuum the carpets.
·         Make up a song, poem, or rhyme.
·         Create an alphabet book.
·         Designate a letter of the day, and do activities that start with that letter.  Speak using words that start with that letter as much as possible.
·         Build with Lincoln Logs.
·         Look through your baby book.
·         Build a Mighty Beanz race track.
·         Make up some tongue twisters.
·         Make a list of your very favorite foods.
·         Create patterns with coins.
·         Sing some songs:
o   I’m a little teapot
o   Itsy bitsy spider
o   Head, shoulders, knees and toes
o   The wheels on the bus
o   If you’re happy and you know it
o   This little light of mine
o   He’s got the whole world in his hands
o   London bridge
o   Old Macdonald
·         Pick out things you can sell in a garage sale or donate to children in need.
·         Do a craft from the Independent Crafts Folder. [I included easy things they could manage on their own.]
·         Make a Rainbow Loom bracelet or ring.
·         Work in your Wreck This Journal, or create a new journal of your own.
·         Get a toy from the basement that you haven’t played with in awhile.
·         Pretend play:  Harry Potter
·         Pretend play:  My Little Pony
·         Pretend play:  Dragons
·         Practice pitching and catching softballs outside with your sister.
·         Play chess with your sister.
·         Do some one-minute challenges:
o   Balance on one foot
o   Hop on one foot
o   How many times can you touch your toes?
o   How many jumping jacks can you do?
o   Bounce a ball on the ground and catch it.
o   Dance without stopping.
o   How many somersaults can you do?
o   Gallop sideways.
o   Skip.

 ·         Play dress-up.
·         Go out in the yard and draw what you see.
·         Make up math story problems.
·         Build something with the Mah Jong tiles.
·         Look through a View Master.
·         Build a marble maze.
·         Make a gift for someone.
·         Build something with Tinker Toys.
·         Play with Noah’s Ark.
·         Make a pop-up book.
·         Make a list of things you can do when you’re bored.
·         Put on a play.
·         Go on an imaginary expedition, inside or out.  Pretend you are in a rain forest, on a trip to the North Pole, crossing the desert, or climbing a mountain.
·         Look through your yearbook.
·         Play with the big toy horse in the basement.
·         Play with the big doll house down in the basement.
·         Read through your old books in the basement.
·         Play school.
·         Make up knock-knock jokes, and tell them to your sister.
·         Play with the fairy garden.  Remodel their home.
·         “Play cook” in the kitchen sink.
·         Read a book outside.

As you look through this list with your own kids in mind, you will see places that you would want to customize and change it, based on their ages, interests, and the kinds of things they have to play with at home.  For example, one of my suggestions is to "build a Mighty Beanz race track"--that's a toy we picked up at a yard sale last summer, which is stored in the basement.  By putting it on the list, I am reminding the girls that it's down there if they're interested.  Same with toys like the Noah's Ark and the "big toy horse." If you make a similar list, you could include toys that are packed away that they might be interested in getting out.

I also included some "little kid things," like playing I Spy and singing songs like, "If you're happy and you know it." Sometimes my girls, now 7 and 8, will make fun if something is "babyish," then get totally enthralled in those old familiar things!
I put the list in a storage box, which I filled with different notebooks and activity books that they have accumulated.  Their summer reading assignment from school is in there, summer review activities my 3rd grader got from her teacher, some unfinished coloring books and word find books, their Wreck This Journals--anything that might help them pass the time if they can't think of something else to do.

They each get 16 minutes of computer time each day, and other than a recent infatuation with "Kung Fu Panda" they haven't been asking to watch any television.  They've only been out of school for four days (our district runs until June 21!), and we've had a picnic, a playground visit, piano lessons, a trip to the dentist's office, a free magic show, a birthday swim party, church and a pancake breakfast.  At home, they have been obsessed with the two sets of Goldie Blox their aunt and uncle got them for Christmas a couple of years ago.

"Boredom" has not been the b-word I have been contending with; rather, it's "bickering." We'll see if I've figured out anything to post about handling THAT before the summer is through!  Wish me luck!

How are YOU keeping your kids busy and creative this summer?