Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Published Internationally!!

I am soooo excited to announce that Holly's Art Corner has been published internationally! ;-) A couple weeks ago I was contacted by Vicki from MetroUK about participating in their holiday supplement! She asked me to give her an idea for a simple DIY holiday gift. I couldn't decide on just one so I sent her the wine cork tree I made for my mom last Christmas and our pour paint flower pots (with the idea that you could put holiday goodies in them, wrap in it cellophane with a pretty bow and give it as a gift). She printed BOTH of projects. She had asked me to include a photo if I had one. And they used my wine cork tree on the COVER!!! So not only are my craft projects published, but so are my photos!!

You can check out the e-edition of the Metro UK right here.

And here are some images of the pages that contain my projects (I believe you can click on the image to enlarge it):

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

2012: Project 6--Frank Stella-Inspired Cardboard Sculpture

This was one of the last projects we tried this past summer. I came across the artist Frank Stella on Pinterest. I had not heard of him before, but I was immediately drawn to his geometric artwork and his bright sculptures. I thought it would be fun to show the girls his artwork and create cardboard sculptures. I was first inspired to try this project after seeing this project posted on The Chocolate Muffin Tree blog

Here are some examples of Stella's work that I showed the girls before we started our project:
I thought it was fun to show them images with people in them so the girls could get a sense for the large scale of his artwork.
 And some of his sculptures:
After I showed the girls Frank Stella's artwork, I showed them Chocolate Muffin Tree's cardboard project. Then I gave them a piece of cardboard and our bin of recycled materials and told them to get to it. We received how to use a hot glue gun safely and they were off! I think they really enjoyed the process of creating these sculptures. I love all the concentration you see in the photos as they are creating!
I thought it was simply amazing how they manipulated the cardboard and worked the glue fun! I didn't help them with these AT ALL!
Top image is my 9 year old's, bottom image is my (then) 6 year old's.
After they were done creating their sculptures, I spray painted them white.
And then they were going to paint them with acrylic paints. Ella picked cool colors.
Lily picked warm colors.
I admit that this project might have been a bit too ambitious for the end of the summer. Even though there was more than a week between when they created the sculptures and when they were going to paint them, the girls just were not that interested in painting the sculptures. They did a few tubes the first day. Then I tried to get them to keep going, but they just didn't feel like it. So unfortunately, we don't have a finished project. I still have them up in the closet. Maybe they will finish them someday. Maybe next summer. ;-) They absolutely LOVED the construction part of this though. I will have to remember that and see what I can come up with in the future that can feed off that.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Toddler Sensory Activity: November Sensory Bin

Here is our November sensory bin!
--fake leaves (bought in bunches from Dollar Tree and cut off branches)
--mini gourds and pine cones from dollar area at Target
--plastic acorn table scatter from dollar area at Target
--cinnamon sticks and mulling spices
--puff balls

I decided to add in smell to this sensory bin. Cinnamon sticks and mulling spices were sitting on a stand right when I walked in the grocery store a few weeks ago. All of sudden I realized I should get them and add them to our bin! Not sure Kellan has really noticed them or that the bin smells nice this time. He seems to gravitate to the translucent acorn table scatter pieces most of all.
I also added a piece of contact paper to our deck door with the idea that he could try to stick things to it and make a sort of nature picture. I was inspired to try this from a post at Play at Home Mom.
The pieces you see on the contact paper, I put on as an example for him so he could see what to do.  However, about one nanosecond after I took this picture, he took each piece off and pulled the paper down. So. Not such a success with that idea. Maybe next year. ;-)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Holiday Gifts to Foster Creativity

As I've mentioned before (be sure to check out my holiday giveaway from Mama May i!), I'm done with the toys that have bells and whistles, are faddish (ie: Zoobles, Squinkies, LalaLoopsy, etc), have a million tiny pieces (Polly Pockets, Barbie) that never get played with or need to be plugged in (ie: ipods, Nintendo DS, Nooks, etc). I decided this year I wanted to think outside of the box. I want to get my kids really thoughtful, meaningful toys that will force them to use their brains, be creative, and that weren't necessarily the latest and greatest in the toy catalog. In fact, I haven't even shown my kids any toy catalogs this year except for the catalogs for Fat Brain Toys and Mindware. I looked through the Target Toy Book and the Toys R Us toy catalog on my own, and I have to say, there was not one single toy in either one that I wanted my kids to receive for Christmas, aside from Legos.

So what DID I put on my kids' wishlists this year? Some of these great items that can really get your little ones' brains working and the creativity flowing:

For my little artists:

Building Materials to foster creativity, fine motor skills, spatial reasoning and perspective:
CitiBlocs Neon (for building with a black light on)
Crazy Forts (and playsilks to cover it with)

Games & Puzzles:
Puzzle Blox This one is actually on MY list. 
But great for older kids (12+)

 What's on your kids' wishlists this year??? Happy Holiday shopping!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Holiday Toy GIVEAWAY: Mama May I Shop

I was first introduced to Mama May I's shop in 2010 when my friend Abbie at Greening Sam and Avery posted about her toys and held a giveaway. I was so drawn to Jessica's handmade products with their bright rainbow colors! I've admired her toys ever since! FINALLY,  now that my son is two and a half and I have a good idea of the kinds of toys that intrigue him, I bought three sets of her toys! I'm so excited for him to receive them at Christmas! He LOVES stacking things like blocks. He loves setting toys up and knocking them down. He will find toys not necessarily meant to be stacked or set up (ie: plastic bolts from our Design and Drill set are his FAVORITE!) and play with them multiple times a day.

As soon as I saw If a Tree Falls in the Forest, I knew he would LOVE it!!

 You can stack them!
 You can sort them by color and size!
And you can just simply play with them however you like!

Along these same lines, he likes to balance things so the Balance Set was another natural choice for him.
And finally, I purchased the Colored Cups and Balls set for him to work on his fine motor skills.
Do you see anything in common with all of these? They are beautiful! Aren't they?? Who wouldn't want to play with these? Also, they could all go together if you wanted in a color sorting way. Or you could sort them by size. Jessica's toys appeal to sensory play with their bright colors and smooth wood feel. You can add them to sensory bins either rainbow themed, or if you are doing a certain color theme like red and green for Christmas! Or they are absolutely wonderful to just set up for open-ended play and see what your child comes up with. She has several sets that would appeal to any child but also to little budding artists!

I have my eye on this Little Details Set too!
I think it would be really fun to have my girls create their own "sculptures" and then ask them to make line drawings of them! And my son could match the objects up with the cards provided. This set would be great for all three of my kids.

Here's a little blurb about Mama May I from her website:
Mama May i's handmade learning toys blend the best of developmental psychology and design to offer a unique learning through play experience.
Founder and principle designer, Jessica Perkins, has been creating for as long as she can remember, originally helping her mama with her handmade toy store over 20 years ago. With the birth of her children, and all the new little people in her life, Jessica found herself searching for toys that met her educational and design standards.

Inspired by these little explorers, and her understanding of Montessori and Waldorf methodologies, Jessica Perkins began making all of her creations with the belief that children make sense of their world through sensing their world. After years of making, creating, and gifting her creations to friends and family, Jessica decided to start selling her goodies. Since the launch of Mama May i in 2009, Jessica's passion for artistic expression through toys has blossomed into a business supported by mama's and papa's all over the world.

With this learning through play philosophy in mind, Mama May i encourages kids, both big and small, to dive in, make a splash, a scribble, or an inquisitive fiddle on the memories we share together.
While we don't follow the Waldorf or Montessori methods of play to a tee, I think some of the ideas based in them are really great. I have been trying really hard to add meaningful toys to my children's holiday wishlists this year. We have had the fad toys. We have had the toys with bright lights and loud sounds. I am tired of all the toys around here that my kids only use for five minutes after Christmas. I believe these toys fit the bill for fun, open-ended play and can be used for quite some time. Mama May I has toys ranging from newborn to grade school.

Now, here's the exciting part! You can win some of Mama May I's toys yourself! I have a set of If a Tree Falls..., a Balance Balls set, and a Colored Cups and Balls set to giveaway! There will be three winners; one winner for each set.

Use the form below between November 1st and November 23rd (Black Friday!) to enter. There are multiple ways to enter. Only US and Canada shipping eligible. And even if you don't win the giveaway, head over to Jessica's website to shop for some fun handmade, quality toys for your little ones for the holidays! Jessica has graciously offered a coupon for everyone! Use coupon code: ARTCORNER for 15% off your order. It will be active for 1 full week from the time the giveaway ends. 

Edited to add: Please copy your comment for the Rafflecopter the post comments as well so everyone can see what items you love! Thanks!!!

***All images provided with permission from the Mama May I website.***

a Rafflecopter giveaway