Wednesday, January 25, 2017

That's Pinteresting!: Tie-Dye Coffee Filter Art

After my mother and I tried out bubble painting the other day, I started working my way through my Art Projects for Kids board on Pinterest, trying out some of the different techniques I have pinned over the past months.
I found a homeschooling mom at The Kitchen Table Classroom who uses markers and water on coffee filters to teach her children about color mixing.  You can't beat the project for simplicity, and the coffee filters that are created make interesting background papers for other projects.
I stopped using paper filters in a coffee maker about a year ago, so the filters have worked their way into my craft stash. I was happy to find a fun, easy, and pretty way to make use of them. I also borrowed the girls' craft drawer full of markers, and pulled out a little mini-mister I have, though you can use any sort of squirt bottle filled with water.

First, you just fold the coffee filter into quarters. My daughter Katy demonstrates this step:
Then you make colorful marks all over one quarter of the filter.  The color goes through the paper to the other side, but I like to flip the filter over and reinforce with more marks on the other side for an even richer effect.  Here are Bayla and Katy adding their marks to their filters:
Here is an example of the filters filled with marker color:
For the next step, just squirt the water from your mister or bottle onto the marks and watch the colors "melt" and blend:
This is a fun step, because you never know exactly how the marker and the water are going to react.

You can set the filters aside onto wax paper to dry; they don't take too long to dry, which is another plus with kids' crafts!
No two filters look alike, so it is fun to admire all the different results!  Because they look so much like tie-dye, I thought it would be fun to use them in the background of a journal page or ATC along with vintage images of women from the 1960s era.  We will see where that project takes me!
This is one of those projects that I firmly believe you can do even if there isn't a kid in sight!  Most of the projects on my Art Projects for Kids Pinterest board are fun- and artful-enough for kids or adults to enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Art on the Parkway

Today I took advantage of the opportunity to join the Women's March on Philadelphia, one of the many Sister Marches to the one taking place in Washington, D.C.

For some, the march focused on peace, for many it focused on women's rights, and for quite a few it focused on protesting the new president.  The signs carried by the marchers reflected the various perspectives and concerns.  While my blog is not political in nature, it occurred to me that the many posters being carried by the participants represent a body of creativity that I wanted to share here.  And while I did not necessarily agree with the content or spirit of every sign I saw, I have to say that reading them was one of the most entertaining parts of the experience for me.

I am not going to make accompanying comments, but rather present a gallery of some of the interesting sights I enjoyed today.  If you would like more information about the purposes of the march, please feel free to visit the page expressing their vision and intent.
As we walked away from the rally, toward a restaurant visit and the train ride home, we saw many of the participants leaving their signs along a bridge, creating a gallery of the day's sentiments:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Bubble-Painting Crafternoon

My mom and I played around with a painting technique this morning that has multi-generational appeal:  bubble painting!  After learning the basic technique, and trouble-shooting the process a bit, I'm ready for my kids to give it a try on a home-bound rainy day.
To create bubble paintings, we mixed 1/4 cup of dishwashing soap with 1/8 cup of water. (We messed around with those amounts randomly through the process, so you can, too!)  We also poured in some of my kids' bubble mix and some vegetable glycerine for good measure.  Then we added a squirt of Liquitex soft body acrylic paint.
We tried liquid watercolor paint first, which I was SURE was going to work beautifully, but it just didn't do as well as the acrylic.  After stirring it all together, we put a straw down into the liquid and blew bubbles.
Very important at this point to BLOW OUT rather than SUCKING IN!  You really don't want to mix up your processes here.
Once we developed lots of bubbles on the surface of our liquid, we held watercolor paper over the container so that the bubbles popped against the paper. Et voila! A bubble painting.
Sometimes we did the process again and again with the same color to get more bubbles on the page, and sometimes we moved on to new colors to get bubbles of different colors on the page.
I never really felt like I "mastered" the process, if there is such a thing.  I got too many frothy bubbles on my paper for my liking.  We couldn't decide if there is a learning curve to making beautiful bubble paintings, or if it's more a matter of luck.  Doing an internet search of bubble painting projects, I found some pretty beautiful examples that put my efforts to shame, if there is such a thing as shame when it comes to bubble painting!  You can check out some other folk's bubble paint projects here and here.
My mom and I decided that this is what you call "process art," meaning that the process of creating it is the focus, and the end result is far secondary.  Meaning we're not sure we LOVE our results, but we sure had fun doing it!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Make It/365! Two Weeks In

I've been keeping a record of all of my 2017 "making," and I thought I would share some of the entries with you so you can check out my progress.  As promised, I have used the word "make" to refer to actual creative enterprises, as well as more abstract endeavors .  Check it out:

In the first two weeks of the new year, I have:

  • Made an effort to find a friend's lost dog by going door to door in my neighborhood.
  • Made a big pot of spaghetti.

  • Made a blog post. 
  • Made it to church on the first day of the year.
  • Made "cute animal" sketches in my sketchbook.

  • Made school lunches again after the winter break.
  • Made a master list of DIY cleaning products from a binder full of notes and clippings.
  • Made an appointment to start getting allergy shots (and made it to my appointment).
  • Made our house cleaner than it's been in awhile.
  • Made Valentine doodles in my sketchbook.

  • Made it through to the end of a book I was reading.
  • Made an afternoon snack for six little girls having a play date.
  • Made erasers out of eraser clay with my daughter.

  • Made a yummy dinner of spiced mini-burgers and pita bread.
  • Made excuses to myself about why I'm not making things in my craft room.
  • Made a beautiful dinner of roasted chicken and vegetables in a cast iron skillet.
  • Made a smoothie for lunch.
  • Made gingerbread cookies with my kids.

  • Made it through a major mishap--washing an entire box of tissue the girls let fall in their laundry basket.
  • Made my exercise goal on my new watch (on just one day, lol!).
  • Made chocolate chip banana bread.
  • Made a lunch date.
  • Made a Pin the Gumball on the Gumball machine with my daughter for her birthday party.

It's been fun to reflect on my day each evening through the lens of "making"..."what have I made today, anyway?" I hope to do more traditional making--working my way through the supplies in my craft room and the pins on my Pinterest boards--but until I get to it, I like seeing all the other ways "making" makes an appearance in my days.

Keep those ideas coming for my Make It/365 list! I got some great new ideas in the comments for my last post, and I will continue to add and update along the way.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Make It/365!

I've been enjoying the new trend of tossing out terms like "artist," "crafter," "sculptor," "sewist," or "book binder," in favor of the more general term, "maker."

Being a "maker" feels like it has fewer restrictions.  Maybe it appeals to me because I dabble in so many areas that I can't really tie myself down to a single category.  I make books, collages, paper crafts, mail art, crocheted blankets, etc.--I'm a maker!
I ran across the blog A Playful Day last month, and discovered Kate's project called The Maker's Year.  During 2016, she encouraged participants to document their "daily making."  She opened the concept of "making" widely, in order to encompass "photography to upcycling, gardening to writing, weaving to baking."

I tend to think of "making" even MORE broadly. After first encountering Kate's project, I made a list of everything I made the very next day, and this is what "counted" for me that day in November:

What did I make today?
  • I made a bathroom vanity shine.
  • I made a new blog post.
  • I made new online connections by joining a Facebook group I just discovered.
  • I made my daughter's bed fresh with clean sheets and blankets.
  • I made a pile of laundered clothing.
  • I made a delicious dinner for my husband from a recipe we both enjoy.
  • I made a safe and cozy home for our new rescued kitten.
  • I made the startling discovery that my daughters will eat green peas without complaint when every other vegetable causes one or the other to whine pitifully (and I don't even like peas myself!).
  • I made a smoothie for my lunch and a percolator full of coffee to enjoy.
  • I made an appointment to attend two upcoming art/craft workshops at the library.
  • I made a loaf of chocolate chip banana bread. 
  • I made additional preparations for my daughter's upcoming birthday party.
  • I made it on time to drop off and pick up my girls from school.
  • I made my bed.
  • I made my daughters laugh by being silly.
  • I made my daughters think by reading our daily devotion and praying with them.
  • I made notes for my adult Sunday school class.
  • I made oatmeal granola for breakfast.
  • I made a list of things I made today.

That's all in one day, folks! That's a lot of making, when I'm willing to define it broadly.

In that spirit, I am launching my own personal Make It/365! project for 2017.  I am in the process of brainstorming 365 things to make throughout the year.  (Help a girl out: I'm only in the 200s! I need some more ideas!)
You can find my growing list in a separate tab at the top of this blog.  I am debating about how much to try to document my efforts; I can get bogged down in documentation, when I really just want to encourage myself to engage in daily making, and to value all the ways that I engage in making each day.

Please join me in being intentional about setting aside 2017 as a year for MAKING!  Let's use our hands and the other creative tools at our disposal to bring beauty, life, and imagination into our world.  I will include you in my journey, and I hope you will include me in yours in return!

Happy New Year!