Thursday, March 24, 2011

Time for Tinting

Playing with color paint is a great tool for children to learn the basics in color theory. When you begin, you don't even have to give them the theory and all the hullaballoo, just let them paint and create. The really cool thing about this is that you can create challenges and limits without taking away their creativity. When you place creative limits on a project, you are not setting your child up for a cookie cutter project but getting them to think outside the box.

Tints, shades and tones are a nifty way to challenge your child while enforcing their foundation of color theory. You may or may not have already done some color mixing, let's mix up some more using only a base color and white paint. When you add white paint to a base color you are creating a tint. Add black and you get a shade, add gray and you get a tone. Most school art lessons will dally in tints and shades using primary colors. At home, you can have your kiddo choose any happy color they like (or stick with primary, it's up to you) plus white. Physically painting and seeing the changes in the initial color is super cool. Sometimes they will not even notice it until their paper is covered.

I use inexpensive acrylic because of the color choices. When working with a group of children, I will use a washable paint but when working with one to three kiddos, I bring out the acrylics simply because the colors are more interesting than what Crayola offers. Acrylic paint does generally stain however so make sure you set up and give your kiddos a smock or have them wear their "paint clothes". If painting indoors and above carpet, make sure to lay out a splat mat of sorts. The paint can be mopped easily up from a wood, tile or other smooth floor but once it hits carpet, all bets are off.

This project utilizes good old fashioned newspaper for a couple of reasons. It's cheap, it's recycling and it actually looks extra spiffy once it is all dry.

Materials Used
*paper plate
*cup with small amount of water
*acrylic paint, 1 base color & white
*plastic splat mat

scrumdilly-do it!
Set up work area and squeeze a bit of base color onto paper plate. A small to medium blob is a good place to start. Have your kiddo dip their paintbrush into the water to wet the bristles to prevent the paint from drying too quickly (thus ruining the brush). Blot it a little bit on the splat mat and then dip into the base color. Next, have your kiddo paint a vertical column on the newspaper at one end. I would recommend beginning on the opposite side from which hand they use. This way there should be less paint trapped under elbows and wrists. I'm a lefty so I began on the right side of the paper (the nephew began on the left). If the brush gets too dry, re-dip into the water, blot and continue.

After the first column is painted (I would estimate about a two to three inch wide span), have your kiddo squeeze a little bitty bit of white paint into their base paint, mix it up and repeat the process; adding a new column right next to and up against the first.
Continue along until the entire newspaper sheet is covered. Add a bit more white first before moving on to the next column. Depending on how much white you/your kiddo adds, your final column may actually BE white. If you think there is not enough variation between the initial columns, up the ante of the white paint.

Set aside to dry. Once it is dry, it can be put on display. I think they look like abstract art and look extra spiffy on a wall using painters tape. Or put it aside to use as collage paper or hold onto it for a couple more ideas I will soon be posting. Get a little slap happy and create more! Try mixing up a secondary color first before creating your tint palette. Instead of columns, paint big blobby patches. Paint rocks or sticks, use cardboard or put the whole project on a large canvas. This is something to have fun with, have fun!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why Don't You...

Paint on newspaper? It's been raining for a few days now and I needed something to do so I pulled out some newspaper and some paint and got a little paint happy. Stay tuned. I've got two projects coming up that utilize the painted newspaper. Three if I get my act together. Happy Wednesday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick's Day: Chocolate Dipped Peeps

I know, it's a bit late for St. Paddy's Day but ya never may have all the goods on hand and some extra time as this is super easy and super quick and super-duper yummy! If not, save it for Easter...Peeps will be around for a while, no?

You will need:
*marshmallow peeps
*craft sticks, coffee stirrers, etc.
*chocolate chips
*glass measuring cup
*butter knife
*egg carton
*wax paper
*spoons (optional)

scrumdilly-do it!
To set up, open up pack o' Peeps and jab 'em with a popsicle stick. Lay atop a sheet of wax paper and prep your egg carton by barely poking a pencil or other pointed object through the points. A one-dozen container will have five points which is perfect so you won't get too kooky dipping peeps. If you don't have sticks, no worries, make sure to keep out that sheet of wax paper.
Fill your one cup glass measure with chocolate chips and pop them into the microwave for about 30 seconds. Remove and stir, stir, stir. If chips need more melting pop 'em back in and heat some more. Make sure your glass container is completely dry before hand. Any water will make your chocolate seize and it will be no good for dipping. My chips meted after 60 seconds.
Bring melty chocolate to your work surface and have your kiddo(s) dip sticked peeps into the ooey-goodness. Position into the poked holes in your egg carton and sprinkle with jimmies or other decorating bits. Continue until each Peep is dipped. If you do not have a carton or sticks, lay Peeps atop wax paper after dipping. Put the whole mess into fridge to set.
After 15 minutes or so, the Peeps should be set enough for eatin', enjoy!

they scrumdilly-did it!

The happy family over at Domestic Scribbles tackled the shamrock cuffs, lookie! They discovered that their cuffs went flatty, flat, flat once the paint was applied and used liberal amounts of mod podge to keep them cuff shaped. If you have a pic of any of our scrumdilly-do projects, shoot them our way with a link and we'll share! Happy St. Patrick's Day and I hope yer wearing green, wink, wink.**

**As a child from a non-secular family, the furthest I  got into celebrating St. Patrick's Day was the surface fun of wearing green and cooking corned beef and cabbage stew. There is a lot more to it all and you can click here for more info on the holiday and here for more info on the man himself and here to learn more about Ireland, its culture and customs.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

St. Patrick's Day: Stitch a Rainbow

This project involves some sewing and depending on the age of your kiddo it may take more work from you than them but still it is fun and yields a rainbow-riffic pillow at the end! Plus, while talking about color and color theory with your wee one, you get to use up all those itty-bitty fabric scraps that you may have floating about. My pillow makes a rainbow about 15 inches across but you can make yours as big or as little as you like (I recommend going smaller and thicker, my rainbow came out a bit wonky but that is a part of its charm).

You will need:
*2 Pieces of fabric as large as your desired pillow
*Assorted fabric scraps in rainbow colors
*Large sheet of white paper
*Glue Craft Stick
*Sewing Machine
*White polar fleece, wool or cotton balls
*Needle and thread
*Preferred type of fiber fill

scrumdilly-do it:
Gather up your fabric scraps and have your kiddo cut up scraps into smallish rectangles no more than two inches long. Set aside. Fold your paper in half and sketch out half a rainbow with a cloud as its base. A paper plate can help achieve a uniform curve. Go thicker than you might think. My pattern look pretty good but then when I stitched up my rainbow is got very skinny. Have your kiddo cut out pattern with scissors and pin pattern to one of your fabric pieces.Before cutting, create a chute of sorts at one end of your rainbow. The chute will fold nicely withing and created a clean seam once you hand stitch it closed. I used a blue fabric to represent the sky in case any of it showed through. Cut fabric along the edges of the pattern. Unpin.
Beginning with your purple (or whichever bottom color your kiddo chooses) apply a quick swipe of glue stick to the back of each rectangle and arrange along the curve of the rainbow pattern. Overlap as much as you like. The glue stick helps anchor the scraps so that you can stitch happily along, lickety split. When your kiddo has arrange all the purple scraps, bring over to your machine and use a running stitch to anchor them all in place.
 Repeat the process for each color using the previous stitch-line as a guide. Once completed, place the whole shebang back into the machine and stitch up a long zig-zag for extra tack. Flip the whole thing over, rainbow side down and position onto your back fabric. Pin into place. Begin at one side and stitch all the way around ending at the other side. DO NOT CLOSE UP! This will be your opening for turning out and stuffing. Cut around your stitched pieces, chute included and use your scissors to make tiny cross snips along the under curve of the rainbow. This will help it look a little neater once stuffed. I find that stitching one pattern piece to another larger square and then cutting allows for more ease of sewing. You can of course cut both pieces, pin and stitch as you please.
Turn right-side out and stuff it up! Use the eraser end of a pencil to help grab and stuff. You will need more stuffing than you think (it took me longer to stuff than to stitch, go figure). Use a needle and thread to close the seam. Don't forget to knot it.
 For the clouds, cut strips of polar fleece and accordion fold each piece. Run your needle and thread through each layer and anchor to cloud part of your pillow. Continue until you can't take it anymore. Use your needle and thread to "shape" the pieces as well. If you do not have any polar fleece, have your kiddo glue on cotton balls or felted sweater scraps with some tacky glue.
Place in a happy spot and admire! Lookie at what you made! Happy almost St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 14, 2011

st. patrick's day: one project, two uses

For a last minute St. Patrick's Day craft, you and your kiddos can whip up these nifty green bracelets to share with the non-green wearing crew or you can use them as napkin rings to gussy up your St. Patrick's Day dinner whatever it may be. All ya need is one paper towel tube, scissors, newspaper, paint, glue and tape...lookie!
First of, cut your tube down the middle/center from one end to the other. Next up, cut the now open tube into 6-10 pieces depending on how wide you want your bracelet/cuffs or holders to be.
Whip out a couple of different shades and tints of green paint and have your kiddos paint each piece. Don't forget to work in a paint friendly area and stick with a tempera or acrylic. Acrylic paint stains but offers a sturdier cover over the cardboard. Set aside to dry.
Drop a few blobs of paint onto a sheet of newspaper and get to mixing it all up with a paintbrush or two. You can also toss in a couple of alternative paint brushes if ya like. The goal is to cover the sheet of newsprint with all sorts of happy green. Set aside to dry.
Once dry, cut a 1 1/2- 2 inch-wide strip of painted newspaper and fold it into thirds. Depending on how long the strip is, you may be able to fold your strip into more parts. Keep the final piece about an inch or so square. imagine a heart-shape within the square. This will soon become the parts of your shamrock. Trim excess wonkiness from the folded piece and set aside. You will use the trim a wee bit later. Cut a piece of scrap newspaper equal to your folded square. This will be the pattern/template for your hearth-shape. Fold in half, do the whole half-a-heart deali-o and liberate it from the newspaper.
Place liberated heart atop your folded/painted strip and have your kiddo trace the heart shape with a pencil. If your kiddo is old enough, they can simply fold the entire shebang in half and free-form their own heart shape. However, these few extra steps might slow them down a tiny smidge and give you a slight second head start for yourself.
 Use the scissors to cut through all the folded layers to produce a handful of wee hearts. These are your shamrock pieces. Fold each heart in half-lengthwise to give it a tiny bit of dimension. After all cutting and fussing has been cut and fussed over, create a stem for each shamrock using the excess painted paper you initially trimmed from your folded piece. Add a drop o' glue to the back at one end and center it atop a soon-to-be bracelet, cuff or napkin ring. Repeat for each one prepped. Next, select three heart shapes of equal cut and arrange in a shamrock shape that is pleasing to your eye. Flip the pieces over and add a drippy-drop of glue to the bottom point. And I do mean, drippy drop! Too much glue will cause the shapes to slide every-which-way and may cause later frustration at their refusal to remain parked on your kiddos cuff, bracelet or napkin ring. Flip over one side piece and place atop cuff, bracelet or napkin ring radiating away from the stem. Next add the other side and finally the center heart. Lookie there, you have a rockin' shamrock! Repeat for each piece and set them all aside to dry. I do believe this would be a very good time to make a minty green milkshake.
Once your objects d'art are dry, place them on available wrists or tape them closed and snuggle a cloth or paper napkin inside each one and get ready for a feast! Enjoy and happy official green-wearing day!
**I've been looking at the napkin rings that I made (and have been using) and think perhaps a coat of mod-podge would sturdy them up a bit. Or maybe glueing the hearts onto cardboard as well. I dunno, just thinking, they really are quite pretty and the newspaper just won't last forever. What do you think?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

st. patrick's day: make a minty milkshake!

This one may even compete with you-know-whose. Nothing unique and original about a mint milkshake. This one utilizes the entire blender but you can serve it up into smaller juice glasses for fun. Cut a few straws in half to make it more festive, add a dollop of whipped cream and a few chopped up pastel junior mints (and/or rainbow sprinkles) and your kiddos will be delighted!
We used Breyer's All Natural mint chocolate chip ice cream (about four large scoops) but deigned to add couple o' drops of some green food color just for kicks, we went for the neon green. We added a cup of 2% (reduced fat) milk but then went all goofy by topping each one with a spritz of whipped cream.
Serving it all up in small juice glasses keeps the portion size small and controls ones penchant for over-doing it with toppings and such. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

All but the kitchen sink...

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner and there are oodles of projects you can do simply by using green. Check out what Rachelle from Tinker Lab thought up with a batch o green paint, paper and a sink mat. For instructions and nifty how-to hop on over to Tinker Lab. Thanks for sharing, Rachelle!