Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bush Fairies

Last week Rainbow and I made these little bush fairies using wooden beads for heads and the seeds, nuts and buds from our Autumn nature table. Rainbow chose the pieces and I hot glue gunned them together. It was a quick craft to enjoy in the little break between Rainbow and Moonshine waking from their afternoon sleep. Moonshine was quite interested in it as we hastily packed away when she awoke. Funnily I happily let her pick up and play with anything and everything when we're in the bush but won't let her play with these in fear they might fall apart and get consumed! It was really very enjoyable and this week I came home with pockets full from our Sunday trip "out bush" for future creations including these gorgeous dried heart shaped leaves. Rainbow has also had a lovely time playing with these little fairies that now inhabit the papier mache mushroom that we made last winter.
You may remember our previous inhabitants were little felt fairies. Sadly they and their little 'Coloured Button's' doll's house got wet. The fairies felt hats and dressed ran staining their little faces. The house went soggy and collapsed and Rainbow is very keen for us to make a new one soon.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Twos company Threes a Crowd or is it a Party?

I am feeling frazzled so though I should do some sewing or knitting today I shall blog while the girls sleep.

On Fridays we attend mothers group. Until quite recently Rainbow has been happy doing her own thing or playing with me but recently she has wanted to play with the others. Time and time again she'll go and try to join in with the girls or ask one of the girls if she wants to do something. (Like today she asked a girl pushing a pram if she could be her baby's doctor.) And time and time again she gets rejected - at best ignored more often "No, You can't play, Go Away" I've been trying to help Rainbow out saying things like "At Mothers' Group we all play together" and finding roles so that Rainbow can join in the games but as soon as I'm out of perceived ear shot it happens again.

These are 3 1/2 years old. The other two girls happen to go to the same day care 1 1/2 days a week and are "best friends". But do 3 year olds 'need' best friends. Where does this behaviour come from? Is it "natural" in our society? Where are they learning that it's okay to act this way? and How do I help Rainbow to know that this isn't what friendship is about and that she has a right to be treated well?

Today I decided enough was enough. I feel like I can't keep coming and subjecting Rainbow to this. She's only just moving in to social play and I want it to be a positive experience. I could see the hurt on Rainbow's face and I could feel my own tension building so I brought it up with the other girl's mothers. It was such a difficult decision, I'm a conflict smoother - I tend to try and keep everyone happy. The other mothers are aware it happens and I do hear them tell their daughters to "play nicely" or tell them off for not playing nicely.

I understand that in our society this inclusion and exclusion is the basis of many female friendships. Girls get together share secrets, gossip at others and this pulls their bond tighter. But it's an insecure bond - there is always this niggling doubt that if they bitch to you they probably bitch about you to someone else. I want more for my daughters than this. I want my daughters to know the more you love the more love you have to give.

Our plan is that when it occurs we'll sit down with them and come up with an idea of a game that they can all play together. I guess hopefully as they grow give more of that discussion power over to them.

I just had a phone call from one of the mothers'. I got the "it's not me it's you" line. My daughter plays really nicely with other children. What can I say?

Has anyone been there done that on this one?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Gingerbread Man

I've finished another felt board to take for entertainment on our coming plane trip. This tells the story of "The Gingerbread Man". It's funny I often chant the refrain when we're running around or playing chasey though Rainbow doesn't know the story.
Here's the little old lady getting the gingerbread man out of the oven. Here everyone is in hot pursuit "Run, Run as fast as you can. You can't catch me, I'm the gingerbread man."Finally towards the end as the fox 'helps' the gingerbread man across the river. "You're getting wet. Move up on to my nose. You'll be safe and dry there!"
I find it interesting that at 3 1/2 Rainbow already knows which animals are characterised as 'bad' in stories. She's already picked the fox in this story.
Last week I chose two books from the library for her. Stories she has enjoyed but hasn't had for a long time - both coincidentally feature a bear "Where's my teddy?" and "The Mouse, the Ted, Ripe strawberry and the Hungry Bear" Rainbow was truly nervous about reading these stories because they feature a bear.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Microwave Puff Paint

Today's craft builds on some of the craft we've been doing recently - poor man's glitter and squeezy art. The idea comes from One Crafty Momma and is one I've wanted to try for about two years but our absence of a microwave has prevented us. Today we were visiting at my parents' place so it seemed a good opportunity. Though having done it I don't see why it wouldn't work just as well in an oven so we might give that a try another day.

This is a very easy recipe for a little one to make. Indeed making the paint was probably Rainbow's favourite part. It's simply equal parts self-raising flour and poor man's glitter (or salt and a few drops of food colouring). Then mix in enough water to make a thick paste. In these pictures Rainbow is mixing the paint in an old friand tin.
Then create your pictures on cardboard. We used cotton tips.
and squeeze bottles. Rainbow particularly liked to put several colours of paint in the bottle at the same time so that you get multi-coloured splotches.
Then you microwave. We put them in for 10 second sessions until they were cooked. The thickest mountains took 40 seconds. It does get hot so do be careful and also we put a glass of water in simultaneously for safety. These photos don't really show it but they do really puff up.
Here's Moonshines creation.
And after... and Rainbow's before...
and after (upside down!)...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Body Outlines

Rainbow's art is starting to include bodies for her people. You can see it in her pancake man and also her 'poor man's glitter' person. She's also been experimenting with these elongated head/bodies which are interesting in that I don't believe they are part of the usual progression. This one is a pig - see the snout and curly tailAs yet this isn't coming out in her drawings so I thought we'd have a play around with some body outline art. Here's some things we've had a go at.

Full body artline. We used a large roll of paper that came with the easel. We don't ever use it on the easel but it is great to have on hand for large scale projects. I don't have any photos of these in production as it was a bit of a feat for me. For that reason I probably wouldn't recommend this for the under twos. I had to basically hold Moonshine still with one hand while I traced around her. And when I traced around Rainbow, Moonshine unsupervised got hold of the textas (who knew she could take lids off!) and drew on Rainbow, Rainbow's picture and herself. As you can see this was a surprise for Dadda's birthday. so all's well that ends well. Rainbow enjoyed being traced and seeing her picture but wasn't that fussed on decorating it. In the end we decorated with potato stamps and then Rainbow further decorated hers with watercolours. '

Rainbow's overalls are one of her winter outfits I made. The swirly ruffle that travels down the top and one of the legs is simply the fabric selvage chopped off and sewn on.
I love this photo - Moonshine was so very proud of hers. Have a look at how much of Rainbow's hem is rolled up. I always add a few inches on at the top and bottom of pant patterns when I sew to cover the bulkier cloth nappies and also her long legs. Moonshine on the other hand is of average height.

The speech bubbles are birthday messages for Dadda. He was delighted when he came home to find these 'girls' waiting for him. Rainbow has named hers Laura and says it's her big sister. They've now gone to live at Dadda's work. I was relieved because I kept walking past the inside of this window and getting a fright because I thought someone was looking in.

This is also fun to do with the child lying in different positions.

Toy Outlines
A few days later Rainbow asked me to trace around one of her dolls. This isn't a completely new idea for us as I am regularly asked to trace around bilby and Rainbow's hands on the etch-a-sketch. Here it is from behind so you can see roughly what it looked like.

Rainbow then painted it with watercolours and 'dressed' it with fabric scraps. I'm thinking this time I might give her larger pieces of fabrics and fabric scissors (gasp).

She really enjoyed this project and asked to do this again yesterday. I thought I could keep Moonshine distracted with crayons in her highchair but she really wanted to do what her sister was doing. She really enjoyed this textural collage.

Hand prints We also made a picture like the one below for each of the Grandmas. Once again it wasn't easy tracing around little Moonshine's hand. Rainbows has a drawing on Grandma in it and also finger bones drawn in. Then it's painted with watercolours.

I have removed this and will add it again later as it has the girl's names on it.

There is something about body outlines that never fails to surprise and delight little ones.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Squeezy Edible Art

Rainbow and I are enjoying Masterchef. Rainbow loves watching a little before bed and comes up with her own ideas of what she would cook - such as a steak and cabbage pizza with beer poured on top.

Here's some arty cooking we've been up to using....

a squeezy bottle. We actually have two, Rainbow finds the red bottle easier to squeeze.

Firstly decorating cookies.
The icing is a simple glace icing (icing sugar and hot water) mixed to a thick paste. If it gets too thick the squeezy bottle can be stood in a jug of hot water to make it more viscous.

Here are the finished cookies ready to take to Playgroup. The angel's splotches are pockets. Every angel needs pockets. Also Rainbow put the butterfly aside for herself before handing out the cookies. I wonder why?
I didn't photograph my cookies but I was impressed with how much easier it is to pipe with a squeezy bottle than a piping bag, thought I founds spots a little challenging.
Secondly making pancakes
I often make shaped pancakes but now Rainbow is having a go.
I heat the pan and melt a tiny bit of butter in it. Then take it off the heat for Rainbow to draw her picture. This gives her plenty of time and also this 'slow' cooking gives it a firmer base and makes flipping easier.
A little person.
This pair is by me. Misha and her baby giraffe.
I have been wondering about making a really runny salt dough. Making a picture using the squeezy bottle and then baking but we haven't had time. Anyway art that you can eat is probably much more fun. Do you have a favourite edible art?

Friday, June 4, 2010

New Baby at the Zoo

We've had two trips to the zoo this week. The second one, today, was especially to see the new baby Rothschild giraffe that was born on Saturday. Here he is with his mother Misha.We are thrilled to have seen him. When we first arrived I could barely see his little head at the back of their enclosure and despite (what I thought was) a comprehensive description Rainbow could not see him. Thankfully we walked back that way as we were leaving and he was in view. He is just beautiful and his mother (for whom it is her 6th child) is very tender.
There is also some beautiful video footage on Perth Zoo's website.