Friday, April 27, 2012

2012: Element Project: Color/Value Project (sort of)

Our other project last weekend was more complicated and more involved than many of our more recent creations. I was going for a project that might take a bit of time to complete while my youngest child napped. This project is conducive to talking about some of the Elements of Art: shapes, color, value, space, and line. We created these lovely paintings that I put up on our art room wall:
Top: My 6 year old's, Middle: My 8 year old's, Bottom: Mine :-)
We kind of combined two projects I found. One project inspiration has a similar layout to what we created but was about color value (the light and dark of one color). You can see in the photo above that I tried this project as it was supposed to go with my purple circle picture. But as many projects go, we had to adapt and change as we went along. The other inspiration came from the Art is the Best Part of the Day Blog. In their project, they picked two primary colors and created analogous color images and added white along the way to lighten some of the colors.

Okay, let's start with the first part of the project. Creating a shape and lines.
We used a ruler, pencil, and oil pastel to make a shape in the center, then drew only vertical and horizontal lines to fill in the paper. I experimented with black crayon and pastel and thought the pastel would resist the paint a bit more. So we went with that. I'm sure black crayon would work almost as well and be a cleaner alternative.
My original plan was for us to use one color and just keep adding white to create a color value image. However, this was the first time we used our new Biocolor paints. I experimented with the paint a bit while the girls were busy drawing their shape and lines. I was a little disappointed in how the paint covered the space on the page. It was not nearly as opaque as I was hoping for. And you could really see the brush strokes. Also, when I mixed in the white, I had to mix in a LOT of white to get a significant enough value change to show up on the paper. After discovering all this, I decided it would be better for the girls to pick two colors and mix them to create analogous color paintings instead of value paintings.
Isn't it cute how hard they are concentrating and how thoughtful they are while they are working? :-)
Here are their finished paintings:
Lily picked magenta and yellow. I had her paint 8 spots with each raw color. Then I had her mix those two to get an orangey color. After that, she mixed white with each of the three colors to get a lighter version. Hers worked out pretty well!
Ella picked turquoise and red. But when we mixed the two together, we did not get a purpley color as we thought. We got more of a gray muddled color. So she "cheated" a bit and just used the purple paint to fill hers in. She also added white to the three colors to get different values.
Here is my "value" painting. I added a bit of black to get one shade darker than the raw purple color from the bottle. And then I added white several times to get the lighter shades. I also went over my color blocks 2-3 times with the paint drying in between each time. This gave it a much more opaque finish and didn't look quite as watercolor-y. Although, I was a bit disappointed and frustrated at first (I didn't show this to the girls), we adapted the project and it worked out. Now, we have some nice artwork for the art room wall. Once it was underway, this was a fun project.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Craft Project: Tie-Dye Spring Flowers

My husband has been traveling more this past month than he usually does. He's usually gone a few nights a month here and there. He has been HOME ONLY for a few days this month. So I've had to stay on my toes, especially on the weekends (when the kids are usually doing fun "Daddy" activities) and everyone is home together. Last weekend, we worked on two projects. For the first one, we were inspired again by Mom to 2 Posh Lil' Divas. What I like about her blog so much is that many of her activities are SIMPLE, yet fun! Really, we just revamped the Tie-Dye Easter Egg project for spring.
We created flowers from coffee filters using Do-a-Dot Markers.
My older daughter (the two left flowers) followed the same steps as the Mom to 2 Posh Lil' Divas project by folding the coffee filter in quarters and using the Do-a-Dot markers to create a tie-dye effect. My younger daughter decided to just create hers without folding them. I think each of them turned out great!
Here they are in our art room window:

I used Crayola window crayons to draw in the leaves and stems. It really helps to make our window bright and cheery!

I had cut out the flower shapes for the girls because I had an idea for what to do with the outer ring left from the cut flower shape. I have an uncle who is very ill at the moment. I decided it would be fun to send him some of the girls' artwork to cheer him up. So we used the outside filter rings to create large flowers on construction paper. First, the girls decorated the rings with the Do-a-Dot markers.
Then they glued them on the paper and decorated the inside of the flowers and around the outside to make pretty spring pictures.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Our New Art Room!!

Okay, I'm going to warn you right off the bat. This post will be long and have a ton of photos. :-) I am soooo excited to announce that we now have a full-fledged art room in our house! Seriously, this is a dream come true and I never would have thought I would have anything so cool in my house EVER. And I will completely say my kids are SPOILED! ;-) I would have LOVED to have something like this available to me 24/7 when I was a kid, who wouldn't?!
The FINAL final photo of the art room with wall decals and all. You can see the bookshelves that were originally against the wall are now on the wall outside our master bedroom.

The wall decals I ordered from Amazon. LOVE them!
Before as my office and after as the almost finished art room (just waiting on the chair mat and wall decals to arrive).
Now, how did this come about? Sort of on a whim actually. I've been slowly trying to gain the upper hand on the clutter around our house. We've been here going on 6 years now and it just seems to collect. We had a garage sale last year and that sort of helped clean things out. But I still feel like we have monumental levels of stuff in our house. EVERYWHERE. One day, as I was searching and searching for this pack of glitter that I knew I had dawned on me that we have art supplies in about 8 different places in our house, and it was frustrating, and I could never find anything when I wanted to, and we have this loft at the top of our stairs that is a library/office for me that I never use, and yes, I know that is a huge run on sentence. I searched Pinterest for "craft organization" to get some ideas of what to do with all our stuff everywhere.
We had craft stuff stored under the desk in the kitchen, in kitchen cupboards, in each of my girls' rooms, on a little shelf in the loft, and a random card table in the master bedroom.
I drooled over all the lovely craft rooms I saw on Pinterest and Google Images; dreaming that it would be so nice if we had an extra room in our house for something like that, when I thought of the loft again! I hadn't really used it as my office for about a year. It was really just dead space that the girls ended up playing in only when they had friends over. Why not turn it into a craft room?! We already had a desktop in our storage room I could use for a craft table. If I rearranged our bookshelves, I might be able to make them work and we had a wardrobe in the basement I could use for sewing storage. All I would really need to buy were some chairs and something to help cover the carpeted floor. know how home renovations go. Once you start, things don't work out like you thought or end up costing more than you thought, etc. Once I started voicing my ideas to my husband, we decided the wardrobe was just too big and wasn't going to work. And maybe I didn't have enough existing shelving after all.....etc, etc, etc. My husband actually brought up all of this and suggested we switch things around and buy a couple more IKEA shelves. And voila, after spending about three times more than I was expecting to spend (and with many reminders to my husband that I was the one who was trying to do it for cheap), we have our extremely beautiful and very cool art room! My husband is so sweet, he said he just wanted to make it perfect for me and the kids. :-)

Here it is in all its glory:
Tall shelves on either side of the art table. I had all of the supplies you see here already in the house, except for the tall bottles of paint and the gallon jug of clear glue.
The tabletop with added shelf storage underneath on one end and fun colorful chairs from IKEA. Also an office chair mat to help protect the floor and make it easier to sweep up glitter and scraps. I also have thin plastic cutting boards from IKEA to help protect the tabletop.
These are the supplies the girls know they can use anytime.
Almost all the containers you see in these photos cost between 25 cents each and $2.50, bought in multi-packs at Dollar Tree, the dollar section at Target, or super cheap at IKEA.
My goal was to make the room as bright and cheery as I could using the girls' favorite colors of blue, lime green, pink and purple.
Isn't that a neat way to store floss?! I completely stole that from a post on Pinterest. It's so easy for the girls to cut a piece off and not get it all tangled up. And it's cute besides. :-)
The middle section between the shelves houses "Mommy's supplies" other than some of the metal magnetic containers (the girls know which ones) and the scissors. There are paints, permanent markers and watercolor pencils. All things I want to stay in good condition and have on hand for our summer art history projects. I wanted all of these in one area so it would be easy for the girls to distinguish them from all the other things they (and their friends) can use anytime. The peg board has very special meaning as it was my husband's grandfather's workbench pegboard. My husband inherited it when his grandpa passed away and it's been sitting waiting for us to use it for a couple years. I had actually forgotten we had this and bought rods from IKEA to hang the paint baskets on. Then, he remembered we had the pegboard and it fit everything just perfectly. We absolutely love that we have a little of Grandpa Milt hanging up in our house. And it's amazing, you can tell he made the pegboard by drilling all the holes himself! Our guess is that it's at least 50 years old.
These IKEA canisters are magnetic and stick to the bars attached to the wall. VERY COOL!
The lower half of each shelf will have doors on them eventually and house all my various sewing supplies (fabric scraps, projects, embroidery floss, sewing notions, and even my sewing machine fits! It's never had a real home before always being moved from one storage room to a closet to the next. I also love that I now have a great table I can use the sewing machine on (the one or two times a year that it gets used). I've used the kitchen table, a card table, our bedroom vanity...
And finally a photo of the kids in the art room's inaugural use. They couldn't wait to get started before it was completely done so this was before we had the chair mat, wall decals, etc.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Craft Project: Crystal Sun Catchers

We were inspired by the Housing a Forest blog this week. We made crystal sun catchers out of pipe cleaners and a Borax/water solution. This was a super EASY project and it went just as planned (whew!). It also took no time at all. We quickly did it before bedtime one night so we could see the results the next morning.

 (You can get a tiny sneak peek of our new art room! I have a post all ready to give you a full tour, but I'm waiting on one more wall decal to arrive before I take the final "the art room is finished!" photo).
 The girls made shapes out of pipe cleaners and we tied them to some bamboo skewers I had (you can use pencils as well).
 Isn't that cute? My daughter put "Love" on her heart.
Here are the finished pipe cleaner shapes.

After we had shapes made, I boiled some water in the tea kettle and mixed 1/2 cup borax to 2 1/2 cups of water. We then suspended the shapes in the glasses (I didn't have large mason jars) and solution overnight.
And here's what we ended up with the next day!! I haven't had a chance to hang them in the window yet.
We'll definitely be doing this project again!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ella's First Art Show!

My 8 year old has her artwork hanging up in an art show this month! They chose just a few students' work from her school to hang in the school district administration building and her sunflowers were chosen. We stopped by this afternoon to see it hanging on the wall. We are so excited for her and proud of her!!

Craft Project: Tissue Paper Bird Nests

I saw a cute idea on The Artful Parent blog to make tissue paper bird nests. A sweet idea to show off some of our decorated Easter eggs. The girls were pretty excited about this project too! So we picked up some tissue paper and I cut it into small squares.
Then I mixed up some Elmer's school glue with water. I tried to do equal parts but I was lazy and didn't measure anything out (this could be the reason for this project's on).

Don't the girls have on super cute aprons?! I made them in about five minutes each out of reusable shopping bags. You can find the tutorial for them here. I didn't sew the ties on yet, but they worked just as well for this project without the ties. I will get them on eventually. :-)
They just crumpled up the squares, dipped them into the glue mixture and placed them around an upside-down saran wrap-covered bowl. Here are the finished nests (mine is the yellow striped one).
We really enjoyed this project and had a lot of fun. BUT. They took FOREVER to dry. In fact, it just didn't seem like they would EVER dry. After 2 1/2 days! Now, my mom's house (where we made this project) is a bit on the humid side. But this was a bit ridiculous. I tried to move them along by using a hair dryer. And when it finally seemed that they were dry enough to remove from the saran wrap. This is what happened....
They completely flopped over. And my poor bowl went from this:
to this:
Sort of an epic fail there. The outside was dry, but the inside by the saran wrap was NOT. I ended up throwing mine away. And I put my girls' each in its own ziploc container and tried to reinforce it with straight Elmer's glue in the spots that weren't holding. I did this a few different times. And finally we ended up with this:
The end result turned out pretty darn cute. But getting there was a lot more work than I anticipated. What went wrong? Well, I'm pretty sure my first mistake was that I watered the glue down too much.  Secondly, I wonder if using Mod Podge would work better? I was also impatient with our drying time because I thought 2-3 days would be enough time for the project and we had to leave my mom's house. So I had to hurry it along a bit. I don't know if we'll try this again. Or what other improvements I could make. But not every project can go perfectly, right? It's all a process. And I sort of like that my girls got to see that the project didn't work very well, but I tried to come up with a way the words of Project Runway's Tim Gunn, "make it work".