Friday, September 24, 2010

a thought on creativity

When the nephew a-go-go was working on his mummy he became frustrated with the glue that stuck, stuck, stuck to his fingers. After he did the flap dance (trying to rid his hand of an object that stuck to it), and after many grunts and growls, he decide to make himself a glue finger, something that would help him hold down the glue-tacky strips until they held that would keep the glue from ticky-tacking itself to him. He eyed a piece of fun foam and asked me to pass the scissors and after two attempts/versions he made himself a glue finger. How cool is that?

When I was a kidlet, I didn't have a parent or adult to swoop in to correct me or "help" me when I became frustrated or kerfungled. There were adults around me but I was often left to my own devices. I like to think that these precious opportunities to discover on my own, to succeed or to fail, helped shape the me I am today. Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of tears along the way (including and unfortunate episode, um, yesterday). I am an observer. I observe the world around me. Most importantly people and their actions. Especially the children. When it comes to a project, I like to present the materials and guide the discussion so that it ends with the project that is in my head. For example, mummies. When we made the mummies I had assembled an assortment of supplies and asked how could we use what we had to make a mummy? I didn't tell the nephew a-go-g HOW we were going to make mummies, I let him come up with his own ideas. He started out one way and we talked about what he wanted to do, after some trial and error, he would switch and then switch again until he made a (most awesome) mummy.

Previously, when I have taught art classes or led activities I would do the same, and the kookiest thing would happen over and over again. each time I would talk about the inspiration for the activity, guide the children to the supplies we had and just as the children were about to jump in, a parent, a GROWN UP would say "Wait! What about the instructions? How do they make a pig?" and each time I would say Iin their own way", and STILL the adult was confused. I know we don't want our children to fail or feel the odd person out. I know the intentions are good and true but when you give a child a box of crayons or a container of paint, they should be able to EXPERIENCE the materials they have, the moment ,and the process. When we put our children into a box, we are setting them up for the very failures we are trying to protect them from. This is true in so many areas but most importantly our public education system. I can go on and on and on but I am sure many of you already know this. I would however like to point you in the direction of an article that was recently published in Newsweek called The Creativity Crisis.

Friday, September 17, 2010

make a placemat tool belt

my mister & i were attending a shindig for a young miss who had, amongst other things, asked for tools for her birthday. i culled through my fabric stash and picked up an additional bit and pleaded with my mister to make her birthday wish come true. he is much better at three dimensional sculpture than i am. he hammered out, if you will, a most marvelous trio of tools per my design (wink wink). for my part, i whipped up a tool belt so that the young miss may have her tools at the ready for you never know when a princess (or a pirate) needs to fix something (like a bouncy house). it was easy-peasy, check it make a tool belt you will need:
*needle & thread (or sewing machine)
*scrap fabric

scrumdilly-do it:

the first thing i did was sew a fun little patch of fabric onto the top end of the place mat. or rather, the top end of the back side. place placemat in front of you horizontally, wrong side up. pin scrap of fabric to top right corner and stitch on using a zigzag stitch. this is for decoration only so you can add as many patches of color as you like or you can leave it alone and add none. next up i used a small straight stitch on the machine to affix a length of velcro from one end to the other. the velcro strip overlaps the fabric patch. the other half of the velcro is attached to the tools. if you are choosing to add velcro, make sure you have the right tack attached to the tools otherwise they won't stick and what fun would that be?flip placemat over with velcro and patch closest to you. fold up to about two inches from the top and pin in place. determine the center of your place mat and stitch from bottom of fold to a little past the edge.with placemat now tacked into a fold, line up edges on the right side using the corner of the mat. now, bring corner towards the center of the mat so that the top corner now lines up with the top of the mat. pin into place and repeat for other side. this is so the pockets have room for extra toys and/or the tools themselves.gather your ribbon and cut into two lengths at least ten inches long, there will be an excess of ribbon but you will want to tie it around your kidlet's waist securely. most placemats run about 19" across. you can trim after your final fitting. Pin ribbon to placemat under the diagonal folds you just pinned. stitch along the diagonal edge of the placemat keeping sure to catch the ribbon end so that is is anchored to the new belt.remove pins, trim ribbon edges, affix tools, tie on and enjoy!

*if you do not have a set of plush tools or do not feel up to making them, you can glue velcro onto light plastic toys and they too will stick to the belt.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

refreshing pink

this is hardly the healthiest thing to make for yer kidlets but man it could be, kinda-sorta if you wanted to expand on it and use soy or yogurt though for the life of me i wonder why? save the healthy stuff for the rest of the time for now, all you need is a happy red fruity tarty juice (we like pom-cranberry and the tarter your juice, the more it tastes like a push-up, remember those?), gingerale (or fizz water), ice cubes (the smaller the better), half and half and whipped cream. throw in some happy straws and polka-dotted glasses and yer gold!

assemble glasses and add ice.fill halfway with juice & add some fizz.add a drizzle of half and half or cream (the fats may separate and appear to curdle but it's all good).finish with a dollop of whipped happy, add a straw and enjoy!