Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sweet Heart Party - the invitation

The day of Moonshine's party is Valentine's Day so I've decided to go for a sweet heart theme. It suits my little girl as she is so loving. She is so generous with her snuggles.
This picture doesn't quite look right. It is actually flat. This is how it looks when you take it from the envelope.
Then you gently pull up the row of hearts.

These are made using this very clever tutorial from Paper Cookies. Go and have a look at her design - it would make a great valentine. It is very simple and easy to make. If you like I can even e-mail you the word document that I used for the box part which has all the fold lines marked on it. The slide up picture I made using the hearts and circle design set on Publisher.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Learning when to Hold and Learning when to Fold

For a while Rainbow has wanted to build a Ninky Nonk and was collecting equipment. Then eventually one day I had the useful box out and she set about building her Ninky Nonk while I built a cave that I'll show soon. We don't do a lot of useful box construction as she's still a little young. In the past I've had to ask a lot of questions to help her. Initially about the thing she was building, the parts of the thing, the objects in the box that resemble the part, where she was going to join it.... I would then suggest how to join in and help her do so. Very Vygotsky "zone of proximal development" - learning happens in the gap between what children can do alone and what they can do with assistance.
This Ninky Nonk project was a lesson in not interfering in my daughter's learning.
I jumped in and offered to join two carriages (with a pipe cleaner) which she accepted but then I watched her devise her own way of joining the next two carriages with sticky tape.
I offered to cut a door in one carriage which she accepted only to watch her load her Pontipines through her own door (the lid of the container).
The ability to stand back and let my children own their own learning is a challenge I face as a parent.
You might be interested in this article about not limiting your child's learning from the thought provoking White Oak School.

Birthday Preparations

Had a busy day on Monday. On top of Moonshine's photo session I prepared a few other things for her party.
Made some glorious strawberry jam to spread with cream between two sponges for her cake. Still trying to work out the logistics of cake for 32 people.
Planted some basil for the Pesto Pasta Salad. Probably left it a little late but we'll see.
And here's us having morning tea (chocolate muffin and almond croissant from our local cafe and grapes, rockmelon, mango and plum) at the park after our photo shoot.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Moonshine the Model

The girls and I had a pre-birthday photo shoot for Moonshine at our local park. We must have looked a strange trio. Rainbow and I had been gardening so we were in our old shorts and t-shirts yet Moonshine was frocked up. In hindsight I should have brushed her hair.

I need to choose a photo for Moonshine's birthday invitation. Some of them I'd crop to fit or make her central. The invitations are pink, red and grey. Do you have a favourite?

Art for Babies

The last post was about "Rainbow the Artist" so here's Moonshine finger painting with home-made jelly (100% orange juice + gelatine). Yes she did eat some.
I've been thinking I should give her more opportunities like this - tomato puree, yoghurt...
How did you start art with your little ones?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Art Glass

Many moons ago I blogged about turning an old picture frame into a felt board. At the time I said I'd share a few art activities to use the glass. Well finally here they are.

First up the materials.
In these pictures Rainbow is using my glass cutting board. The plastic 'glass' used in Ikea's photo frames are great. Alternatively you can use a picture frame with just glass in. Low windows are also great for the final two activities. Though glass is obviously dangerous.I must say that in the past Rainbow has just used the pane of glass but only I get to pick it up.

All of these activities use poster paint.

Art Glass 1: Finger Painting
Glass is excellent for finger painting. Finger painting is about the sensory experience. The joy of moving the paint and see the patterns and the colours that emerge. Finger painting on glass heightens the sensation as the paint glides over the glass. You can get a similar effect using paint on damp paper.

It took a long time for Rainbow to get into finger painting. You can sort of see her trepidation in her raised right hand. (Yes she's definitely a lefty.) She enjoys finger painting on glass and will often use her whole hand.

Not all art needs to have a product but if you want one you can always take a print.

The nice thing about prints from glass is they are almost textured.

Art Glass 2 : Print Making
Once the glass is covered in paint a picture can be drawn using a variety of materials - cotton buds (as shown), fingers, pieces of card (cut like a comb)...This task can include representation design or just experiential making it excellent for very little children. Experiential is also really important for kids of all ages. A chance to just focus on the sensation and getting to know the possibilities of the materials.
We've printed on to coloured paper here which gives a different effect.
Art Glass 3: Collaborative Painting

This can be a collaboration between two children or an adult and a child. You sit on opposite sides of the table with the glass standing between you. I hold it at the top with my left hand. Each person has a different colour paint. You then take turns adding to a collaborative drawing with lots of talking about what you're adding. It's great in that you can add new ideas but can't disturb the other's additions as they are on the other side of the glass. You can also colour in or add patterns on top of the other person's contribution.

Art Glass 4: Imaginative Portraits
Take turns holding the glass with your nose pressed against it. The other person then adds on facial features - real or imagined. In this case Rainbow is an elephant. When Rainbow paints for me she tends to paint on my existing facial features (eyes, nose, tusks - just seeing if you're paying attention.) Her way of doing it is probably great for extending kids who are just starting out at representational drawing.

In the next day or two I'll show you what we're doing with these art works.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The First Born

After a long and at some point difficult hatching the first baby has arrived. The proud parents are hoping he develops his father's beautiful plumage and his mother's stunning song. His mother spends most of the day collecting only the best grubs for her baby. Flitter is a contented little chick and is already looking like he is ready for his first flight.

Friday, January 15, 2010

those eyes - a baby for my baby

Those eyes are inspired by

and seen on
A new baby for Moonshine's birthday. Moonshine loves dolls. She spends a lot of time giving them cuddles and often crawls about with a little plastic doll under each hand or a doll sticking out of her mouth.

This doll is using the free black apple tutorial. The tutorial is very simple to follow though I must say I had some problems with fraying and ended up starting again and zigzagging all my edges. She's also a little asymmetrical but I'm telling myself that adds to her individuality. I also think a doll has to be able to stand up to a lot of use. It's a good doll for a baby as it has no loose parts.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hatching Inspiration

At the moment, with it being less than a month to her first birthday, it's all about Moonshine.
I've got two homemade presents on the drawing board.
Well the first is actually done. I'll tease you with a peak. Do you recognise the eyes? They're inspired by a animated television character from the 80s.
Have a guess in the comment section. I must admit I can't see it now that it's sewn.

Present number 2 is a nest full of baby birds. I've played around with a few ideas. At first I was thinking something realistic looking like and I wanted it to be interactive. Given that a one year old loves filling and emptying but still has limited motor skills, the objects needed to be a shape that stood stabely and would fit into the nest easily. So I googled "flat based birds"and one of the images I got was a little EGGie. He's basically a modified 4 panel ball pattern and goes together really easy. He's cute in a goofy kind of way with those big eyes. Wouldn't he make a cute Easter Presents.
But..... Add bird paraphernalia (wings, a tail, eyes and a beak) and you have a hungry little chicks. I' haven't quite worked out the face but I'm thinking upward looking eyes imploring Mama bird to "Feed Me, Feed Me"
So here's my first prototype in calico on the right. On the left is a more bird like bird that I played around with. This one has a rocking base that Rainbow enjoyed playing with. This one also is really easy to piece together. I used this chickummyjig pattern. Oh by the way I printed the templates at 50% for both, making the egg shape one about 6cm tall.
Here is the side view.

I'd already brought the fabric. The purpley hues were to mix and max for the birds while the green were for the nest.
But when I tried it out. I was more drawn to the natural calico. I also am really enjoying embroidery at the moment and calico is nice to work with.

So next thought calico with fabric paraphernalia.
Meanwhile I'm thinking about Flip and Flap and Flutter. The birds from "Stellaluna". I'm also finding the tiny beaks frustrating.
So opt for felt with her name embroidered above her downward facing tail. Her eyes will be embroidered too.
She looks a little like a flamenco dancer with those wings. Perhaps she needs something on their head or a rose between her beak.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Cheat's Kangaroo and birthday cards

We had a lovely time at the party.

If you'd like to know more about the endangered bilby you may like to check out this page.

I had planned on making a costume for Moonshine but it's hard to be motivated when she'll outgrow it quickly. Instead opted for a top with a pocket to be her pouch and a little kangaroo joey. (Mind you half the guest thought Rainbow was a kangaroo). The joey didn't spend much time in the pocket! Actually for much of the party Moonshine (and several of Rainbow's friends) wore the bilby ears!

Rainbow and I also had an exciting moment when we saw the dingo out for a walk with his keeper but Rainbow was confident that he would know she was just a "pretend dingo".
For the two birthday kids' cards Rainbow and I made finger puppets. You put your finger through the holes to be the animal's legs. Rainbow made a lion and a monkey. The white stuff on the monkey is glue - it dries clear - I was just a little quick with my photography.
I also made a quick pair of puppets for Rainbow to play with. These little guys like to dance, run, march, jump, kick a ball....
I've been playing around with cards that double as toys. Here's two others we've made recently. This one used Zoe from Playing by the Book's very cool templates. This converts quite magically from 2D to 3D with a few easy folds. Rainbow's hoping to go see the robotic dinosaur temporary exhibit at the museum soon so I'm thinking this may inspire us making a "whole world of Zoe dinosaurs" to play with. Yes, something terrible happened to his tail. That's what happens when you make the card 10mins before the party. I had to balance him with a bit of blu tac between his stumpy tail!
This card is a water painted fairy ballerina. If you rub the skewer between two fingers or your palm she twirls.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Bilby Costume

I'm honoured today to be a guest on Playing by the Book where I'm sharing some of Rainbow and my favourite Australian literature. By co-incidence today I completed a very Australian project.

On Friday Rainbow is attending a party at the zoo - costumes optional. So of course what's Rainbow's favourite animal - a bilby.

Look at these babies aren't they adorable. The weather's likely to be in the high 30s so know full on fur. Though bilby's survive very well in the desert - though their days are spent deep in their burrows.

For a long time Rainbow loved Alison Lester's series about the five kids. In "Clive eats Alligators it goes through what each child wears - stripey pants, overalls ... and Tessa wears a tail. So here is Rainbow's bilby tail and ears...

I can't imagine too many people will ever need to make a bilby costume but it could be easily adapted for any other animal (rabbit ears or tiger's tail). I'm already starting to think Easter bunny ears - with white fleece and pink satin and positioned on top of the head, maybe even one droopy ear.
Bilby's ears are made of fake fur and polar fleece. They have a wire insert to give them a little strength - bilbies need their erect ears to hear predators (mostly dingos) and keep cool. The wire is then wrapped around the headband. The headband is then wrapped with polar fleece.

Oh and here's my own baby bilby.