4 entries categorized "painting"

Handmade Christmas (& a tutorial on how to make a puzzle)

7. Putting the puzzle together again.

I told you we're trying to have a handmade Christmas this year.  "Trying," meaning "I'm not entirely sure we'll pull it off," meaning, "I haven't finished what I wanted to make," but we have been busy with our trying, anyway.  Our children have really gotten into this idea of making gifts.  It's been good for them to have to think creatively.  

Our ballerina likes to sew and bake, so deciding what she wanted to make everyone was easy. Our boys, though, needed to do some thinking.  Our little guy (8yo) decided to make stickers with my old Xyron sticker-making machine.   After drawing on cardstock with markers, he simply puts the paper into the machine, turns the dial, and voila!, stickers!  I've had that machine for years, but seldom use it, so I'm happy he's getting such enjoyment from it.   I'm also glad it's so easy for him to master alone.  Before he had the idea of stickers, he wanted to sew pillows.   That would mean that his mama (me, yes) is doing the sewing and he's telling me what to do.  I'm behind on my own need-to-do list, so I am especially supportive of his sticker-making idea.

Our 13yo asked if he could learn to use the scroll saw the other day.  Why not?  After laying out a few rules and making him quote them to me at least five times, he thought he'd use the saw to make puzzles for his sisters and brothers.  This is the one he made for his brother:

Step One:  Draw a picture outline on thick cardboard or thin wood (this cardboard was from the back of an old dresser, but any cardboard or thin wood would do - you can buy it new if you don't have an old dresser to tear apart)

1. Drawing the Picture on a Piece of Cardboard by you.

2. Drawing the picture

Step Two:  Paint the picture.  The entire surface should be covered in paint.  We chose acrylic paints -- those that you find in the little bottles at the craft store.

3. Painting the Pictures (with acrylic paint)

3. Painting by you.

Step Three:  Cut that picture into puzzle pieces (note to his Nana, my mom:  you might not want to see the next photos of his hands so close to that saw blade.  But we don't need to worry. He said the rules at least five times, remember.)

4. Cutting the painting into puzzle pieces. by you.

5. Cutting the painting into puzzle pieces.

6. The puzzle pieces cut out.

Step Four:  See if you can put the puzzle back together again!

7. Putting the puzzle together again. by you.

If you're working on projects, too, leave a link so we can see what you're doing!


Watercolor Painting

The other day I posted a photo of our little ones doing this in their own spontaneous painting session:

Painting Works

I love it when they paint.  Especially spontaneously. Today, I read of another way to paint with watercolors on Bella Dia's blog.  She did this with her kids:


Here is a link to a tutorial on how to make these pretty watercolor pictures.   Beautiful, aren't they? Inspiring, n'est-ce pas?  (...and that would be one of the 2 or possibly 3 things I can say in French)

Au revoir!


I finished a few chores this morning (oh, stuff, like a bit of laundry, a walk about the house thinking of things I should do, and, you know, important things on the computer like reading my favorite blogs  and listening to iTunes.  Alas, it really must be done)....

Anyway, as I said, I finished a few chores this morning, then moseyed on into the kitchen to find this lovely sight:

Our two youngest sitting down to a spontaneous paint session.

Coincidentally, right before I walked in on the kids, I had just finished listening to an inspiring talk given by Sir Ken Robinson on the topic of creativity (oh, do listen to it; it's well worth it).  He says so many things I agree with in his 20 minute talk, including this:

"Creativity is as important in education as literacy, and we should treat it with the same status."

Wow.  That requires some rethinking, doesn't it?  But after the past few years of mulling over what education means to me, I agree with him.  It's good to keep sagging bookshelves around, but it's equally good to leave out paints, paper, scissors and gluesticks for the children to use freely.

Mr. Robinson (Sir Ken, is it?) says, "We don't grow into creativity, we grow out of it...or rather, we are educated out of it.  Many highly talented, brilliant, creative people think they're not.  Because the thing they were good at in school wasn't valued."

Our little gal (5) noticed me taking photos and without looking up from her paints, said, "I'm going to be an artist." 

That door, I hope, will always look as open to her as the doors to mathmetician and aeronautical engineer as a result of a full education: one in which creativity is as important as literacy. 

~ Lori Seaborg

A Handmade (by Children) Birthday

For our Little Gal's recent birthday, we wanted to resist the temptation of giving her plastic toys that only cost $1 (bargain!) but that break within 24 hours (not a bargain!).  Still, we needed to give Little Gal something for her birthday. So we turned to the overflowing craft drawers/bins/shelves/baskets/closets and found things to make.  Everyone got involved in the creating, especially our 10 yo Ballerina, but also the boys.  Well, actually, Daddy didn't get involved this time.  He bought her M&Ms (that she "doesn't have to share with Daddy" as per her wish list) and a My Little Pony.  That pony was our bit of storebought plastic this year, but it had a good use, as you'll see.


Our 10yo Ballerina designed the above doll for her sister with no direction or help from me.

The details:

  • She cut a piece of muslin fabric into a circle shape
  • Tied a head off with ribbon and stuffed it with polyfil.
  • Hand-sewed patchwork squares onto the dress
  • Painted the bodice with red craft paint
  • Hand-embroidered the face with sewing thread
  • Hand-sewed brown wool yarn as hair
  • The doll's purse is hand-sewn with a charm attached

Herb Bag for Sister

Herb Bag for Sister

Also from our 10yo is a peppermint-and-lavender herb bag.  The embroidery stitches are her own design.  I love it that children don't see the need to pull out the "Enclyclopedia of Embroidery Stitches" or another equally large book and follow the rules.

The details:

  • She sewed a tube out of the white fabric
  • Filled the tube with dried peppermint & lavender
  • Sewed the tube closed
  • Embroidered an "A" onto pink fabric, using sewing thread
  • Sewed the sleeve onto the white "pillow"

After two months of working so hard in our Tuesday Afternoon Knitting Class , our 10yo finished this knitted hat just in time for her little sister's birthday...

I don't have the details to give you on that one, as it wasn't our design.  It's a basic stockinette stitch hat.

Here is a gift from a big brother:

Pink Car

This "Pink Cadillac" is a purchased wooden car painted pink and detailed with charm stickers:  a butterfly for the hood and a ladybug on the bumper.  Later, he added a pipe cleaner person to be the driver and, using ribbon, attached the My Little Pony from Daddy to pull the car.

I wanted to share these photos, not as a Mama bragging about her offspring (I would never! Would I?), but hopefully to inspire you to leave out the paints and the fabric and the yarn and paper (oh yes, even the scissors and needles!) for your children, too.  Don't worry about whether or not you are artsy or crafty.  They can do it without help.  Children are naturally creative.