Monday, July 28, 2014

Traveling Art Supplies Kit

My summer travels are over for the year, but you may be one of the lucky ones with an August vacation to end the summer in style.  I thought I would share with you the traveling art-supplies kit I took with me to Hawaii that enabled me to take my art-making and travel journaling in the air and on the road.  Then, later in the week, I'll share some of the travel journal pages with you.

Here, in all its glory, is the sum total of the art-making supplies I brought with me on my trip:
I looked around for a zippered make-up case for carrying my supplies, and I think I found this one--the most affordable option--at WalMart.  Inside, I included some basics like a glue stick, a small pair of airline-allowed scissors, a small selection of decorative tapes, and an eraser:
I also brought a selection of pens and a pencil for sketching, lettering, and journaling:
And, one of my very favorite parts of my travel kit:  a water brush and a tin adapted to hold a selection of watercolor pans:
The pans in my Prang set lift right out, so I could choose the colors that I wanted to include.  In retrospect, I wish that I had included black among the selections.
I read this tip somewhere along the way, and wish I could remember where:  I attached strips of adhesive magnet tape to the bottom inside of the tin, and then a little piece to each pan of watercolor.  It didn't really help them to not get jumbled in transit, but it kept them from moving around while they were in use.  Pretty smart!
Here's a peek at all the supplies, and the journal itself, tucked into the zippered bag:
I placed it upright next to a standard glue stick so you can see how compact it is.  It's easy to stash in my carry-on, and easy to bring along on a walk, a trip to the beach, or a morning on the deck.
You will see the travel journal itself in my next post.  Basically, I covered cardboard with duct tape, punched holes for binder rings, and used index cards and index-card-sized papers as my pages.  It is the perfect size to accommodate postcards right into the book as a page, or even 4"x6" photos once I get them developed at home if I feel so inclined.  I'll show you what's in there so far later this week!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Prints Charming: Summer Craft Camp for Kids

My July Craft Camps for Kids ages 4 to 8 focused on print-making and interesting ways to make prints onto paper. 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we began our sessions together with fingerprint art and bubble wrap prints.  Did you know that bubble wrap painted with yellow paint and then pressed onto a piece of paper looks just like a honeycomb?  Make a little thumbprint bee or two over top of it, and you have a pretty little project!

Here the artists are, painting the bubble wrap with yellow paint...

And here they are beginning to press it to the card to get a print:
Once that was done, they could add thumbprint bees, a fun message (like "Bee happy!" or "You're beeautiful!"), and any other embellishments:

We also made some black thumbprint spiders hanging from their webs (great for Halloween or messages like, "Let's hang out together sometime!"), and then had free time to play with some of the finger- and thumb-print ideas from Ed Emberley's Fingerprint Drawing Book
Once the kids got underway with their thumbprinting and drawing, they had such amazing attention, and worked in such silence, only talking to pass ink pad colors around the table to one another.  It was pretty impressive!
We made clay stamps with our own designs for print-making etched into them with toothpicks, but I didn't get any photos while we were working on these.  I didn't think they ended up making very good prints, but the kids all assured me that they liked that part of the workshop.  I'm pretty sure everyone just likes getting their hands on clay!
I also wanted to show them how we can make prints from everyday, and sometimes unexpected, objects, with colorful and pretty  results.  I collected all sorts of circular items from around my house--empty toilet paper rolls, milk bottle lids, Play Doh container lids, electrical parts (you know the little plastic pieces that you tuck the ends of electrical wires into?), small paper cups--anything I could get my hands on that would make a circle print on the paper.  Everyone had a plate of red, blue, and yellow paint, and they "had at it" to make circle prints on their great big pieces of paper. 
It was so much fun that I made my own circle print later that evening, throwing green paint into the mix.
I wanted to make solar prints, cork prints, vegetable prints...I have enough ideas to fill a couple more print-making workshops with no trouble!  I am hoping to find some young people interested in joining me for art-making through the fall.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Simply Handmade: Washi Tape Magnets

I love fast and simple projects. 

I love decorative tapes. 

And I love upcycling what might otherwise end up in the trash.

Put it all together, and Cintia at My Poppet came up with the perfect project for me:  DIY washi tape magnets!
How cute is Airmail Hello Kitty holding up Katy's kindergarten class photo?!
I had a little pile of advertising magnets down in the basement--rectangular shaped magnets from the kids' old pediatrician, the township where I live, and maybe an electrician we don't use.  Following Cintia's directions, I put a layer of adhesive/sticker paper over top of the advertising text, and then covered that with various decorative tapes that I like the look of enough to see on my refrigerator multiple times a day.  Then I cut through the magnet to create strips. 

Some I left straight-edged, and some I cut out a triangle at the end like an arrow or a banner. 
Bayla's preschool graduation certificate is now attached to the fridge with washi tape style!
Cintia is so right:  My fridge looks much happier now, too, with magnets that look like colorful pieces of tape!
Another fun airmail design waits in the wings for some more kids' artwork to hang.
Check out her blog for her step-by-step illustrated directions, and to see her other projects and tutorials!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Girls Just Wanna Have {Fingerprint} Fun!

I have been holding crafting workshops for kids this summer, bringing out the paints and the ink pads and the glue sticks for some pretty carefree fun.  Perhaps there is no better way to get back in touch with my "inner child" than to spend time with a bunch a kids so I can watch them try new things, experiment with materials, and turn projects into their own. 

At two recent print-making workshops for ages 4 to 8, we started the afternoon with some fingerprint fun.  Even when the day was over, I continued making fingerprint picture after fingerprint picture, filling pages and pages with images from Ed Emberley's Fingerprint Drawing Book.
Have you seen this book?  It's basically the Bible of Fingerprint Fun!
When my husband peered over my shoulder at one point to see what I was doing, I claimed that I was making a "resource book" for future crafting workshops.  Really, I was just trying out all the pictures, and having fun!

Emberley shows how to turn simple fingerprints into pictures that demonstrate various emotions.  Here's how my pictures turned out:
In the book, these characters are perfect little circles of color.  Try as I might to just use the very tip of my finger, I ended with generally oval-shaped characters pretty much all of the time.
He has created these little figures called "Bean Buddies," using very basic stick-figure-style additions to create various characters and actions.  Here are some of my figures, based on his book:
He also has pages that have thematic ties, such as At the Pond.... 
Like my turtle family?
Aw, it's Mom and Dad Frog with the little pollywogs!
And a little duck family.
And my edition of In the Garden....
He shows how to turn fingerprints into all kinds of animals....
including birds...
There were some fun ideas for holiday fingerprint designs, which I grouped together on pages of my sketchbook:
And now, from all of these pages, my fingertips have looked pretty much like this for the past few days:
I remember making a little fingerprint mouse turned into a Christmas ornament when I was in kindergarten; I still hang it on my tree every year!  If it's been that long since YOU remember making fingerprint drawings, then I highly recommend taking a walk on the "child side," and having a little playful fun!