Friday, December 21, 2012

Gingerbread Houses

 We (room parents) made gingerbread houses out of graham crackers, and the Kindergarteners decorated them with candy, coconut, and sprinkles.  This was a first for me.  Many recommended that we hot glue the crackers to milk cartons, and that this would make a more stable structure for little hands.  I think it worked well and would recommend this method to others working with little ones.  The kids worked fast and efficiently.  I was surprised at how quickly they devised a plan and began working.  It was a fun activity for the season!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Grandma's Hands
Perhaps Grandma's praying hands which I sketched during her last days is a pertinent image of how we are feeling after this past weekend's tragedy.  It is hard to digest such atrocities and grief, but I realized something today after meeting with an artist friend.  It is in these horrible times that we need community the most, and that art is a great way to process complicated emotions and understanding. 

In other news I found out that I did indeed get accepted to OPAL.  I would like to challenge myself to participate in each monthly exhibit.  January's is titled "Beginnings".

Finally, I've been working this week to print 50 Christmas cards.  I made three stamps featuring a Snoozy Snowflake theme.  Snoozy is my own joke based on the beloved cartoon Suzy Snowflake.  It must be the stress affecting me, because it is kind of a wacky card.
Card Carrying Member of OPAL

Snoozy Snowflake X-Mas Card

Interior of card

homemade stamps

Monday, December 17, 2012

Space Cadet A Success!

 Abe's kindergarten class had a blast creating space inspired art projects.  They taped cardboard tubes together to make sculptural telescopes.  They punched holes in one end to create a constellation.  At another table they used moon rocks (crayon shavings) to create a warm planet, cool planet, or one of their own creation.  We melted shavings between two sheets of wax paper and then cut out a circular planet.  They wrote on tags the name of their planet and labeled it.  Finally, they created a space helmet out of a paper bag.  We had them decorate a pizza box which cleverly contained all of their space goodies.  It was a delight to watch their imaginations blast off.  I tried to only include pictures of hands and not faces because of anonymity, but I couldn't resist one of the last photos of a loyal Michigan fan.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Holiday Shopping

I've spent the bulk of my morning adding items to my Etsy shop and updating my blog.  A lot has been happening!  If you are still looking for special gifts, check out my shop or others on Etsy and consider buying handmade.   Or, just check it out anyway to see how full my shelves have gotten.  It's been a long time since I've warranted a page 2!

Here are some of my favorites:
Joanna Goss
Friend Prices
Laura Frisk
Nido Studio

Entryway House Shrine

 I've always been intrigued by customs that include shrines or sacred spaces near the entrance of a home.  In ancient Rome, they had household gods in cozy niches.  Jewish homes house the Mezuzah in tiny boxes by their front doors.  In an effort to make an otherwise useless spot for functional, I painted a house in our entry, and Pat hung some shelves.  It now is the perfect place to showcase our tiny, precious collections in an ever evolving display of sacred objects and art.  I'm hoping to find a new old piece of furniture below that would either be a small chest of drawers or set of shelves or console table.  That addition is to be continued . . .

Sapce Cadet Project

 With a friend and fellow parent of a Lincoln Lion, I'm developing a project in Abe's class for next week.  We're going to be integrating science and art into a hopefully fun, educational lesson on the planets.  Along with making space helmets and telescopes, the kids will arrange crayon shavings on wax paper which will then be melted with an iron.  The resulting melted mass will be translucent planets that can be taped in their windows.  We felt it important that the kids have something that connects them directly to the universe.  The sun passing through their melted crayon planets does just that.  In addition we'll be reading the above book about the planets as well as the inspiration for the project if time allows.  I'll post more pictures of our projects and let you know if it was a success.  Hopefully this will be the beginning of more arts integrated projects at Abe's school.  My partner has already designed and implemented a geography project in her son's second grade class.  It's an exciting beginning!

Crayon Shavings

beginning to melt

finished planet

Final Push Before Shows

inked Guadalupe block

Printed fabric
 The weekend was full of delight!  Both shows were fun and went well.   Thanks to all who came out in support!  I'm glad that I managed to squeak out some wares at the last minute including these Guadalupe ornaments and cards and Cats in a Bag.  The latter sold out!  So, I failed to have a photo of the complete package, but essentially, I made cinch sacks that held a mama and three baby cats.  Another success was the free bookmarks printed with cats.  Next time, I'll be smart and add my info to the back of them.  In short, I'm inspired to make more carved blocks for printing in a variety of ways.  My list for 2013 is going to be long!
Guadalupes and Mama Cats

cinch sacks

little cats

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cottage Pillows and My Little Kitty Cats

 For a really long time, I've been wanting to make house pillows with lots of applique and embroidery.  I had to settle for a quick, shabby-chic attempt this week in preparation for the shows this weekend.  I think these could be developed further, and in fact, I'd like to see a whole village.  I don't know why their stuffed nature is so enticing, but it is.  I made three of them using canvas, denim, cotton, and a little bit of felt for embellishment.  Some practice stamps found their way onto the pillows as flowers.  You can see them in the photo below.

 I just finished printing three cats onto fabric with the intention of making "Cats Out of the Bag" bags.  It'll make more sense later.  To get more mileage out of the stamps, I printed some paper goods including:  bookmarks, greeting cards, and gift tags. 

The Neighborhood

Kitty Cats Drying

Cat Stamps

Book Marks and Gift Tags

Greeting Card

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mr. Roboto's Bots

 I've been busy working towards the weekend trying to make items worthy of gifting.  There's a lot here, and the photos are all over the place--(meaning out of sequence--I don't have the time or patience to rectify that problem.)  There's my final bird painting.  I may make prints of these, but it's not high on the list.  I'm still stuffing a batch of bots for my Mr. Robot's huggable, furry robots.  These were an experiment in block printing on fabric with fabric paint, and my first attempt sewing with faux fur.  I used the same handmade stamp to print some robot cards.  I hope to begin on house pillows tonight and then more stamping on cards, tags, etc.  Do I dare start on my pigs in a pouch idea?
drawing my robot

a stack of printed robots on a variety of fabrics

fabric paint--the black worked the best for me

transferred drawing to the print block

Penelope's drawing

sewing printed fabric to wild fur

newly carved block

stack of sewn bots

first stuffed bots

prints drying

printed cards

last  angry bird painting