Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Art Lesson with Older Kids: Felt Finger Puppets

This is one of the few store-bought ready-made kits I've done with the kids. I thought it would be a good introduction to sewing for the kids (who frequently ask me to teach them "how to make Nubbins"!)

The 2 main issues with this problem with this project were... #1: that the kids had issues with learning how to make a knot in the thread...and #2: White glue is extremely frustrating for kids to work with when working with felt (white glue only really works with paper). The glue kept soaking into the felt and the kids were getting frustrated because they kept pressing on the pieces or picking the whole thing up, and felt pieces and/or googly eyes would come off. But ultimately they learned that the project needed to be left alone to dry and I think they really did enjoy it, despite their glue-frustration.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

RoboBox Stencil Art

I don't have a recap of the Kids' Art Class for you this week, because I cancelled it. One of the kids was out of town, plus I've been wanting to rearrange the "classroom" (aka: my dining room). But I can share a project I want to do with them at some point.
Last week while catching up one of my favorite blogs, Ohdeedoh, I came across a post about these interchangeable stencil sets. I thought they'd be a cool project to do with the kids, but didn't think I'd actually order them for myself. I shared the link on Facebook, where my husband saw it and decided to order all 3 sets for me! They came in the mail 3 days later.
This is the "RoboBox" set...

Each set has 3 stencils...the "head" shapes (yellow), the "face" shapes (blue), and "accessory" shapes (red) which in the RoboBox set are mostly antennas.

The set comes with its own super fine-tipped markers, but there are only 3 of them, and they don't look like they'll last for too I've been using my fine-tipped Sharpies.

The sets are designed for drawing just the heads, but CJ and I have tapped our creativity and utilized the shapes to make bodies, arms, and legs too. (The top robot is CJ's...the bottom one is mine.)

My Robot #1

My Robot #2

CJ's Robot #1

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Art Lesson with Little Kids: Foam & Felt Fingerpuppets

I bought one of those foam & felt fingerpuppet kits at one of my last visits to Joann's, and decided to use it for the little kids' craft project this week.

I was lucky I got any pictures this week though. I think I overestimated how much the little kids would be able to do without help on this project. White glue (whether "school glue" or "Glue-All", like I bought) can be frustrating when using it on anything non-paper or 3 dimensional. And with felt, it tends to just soak into the fabric and then not stick like it's supposed to. So every few seconds one of the kids was calling for me to help them... mainly the younger two. The older two seemed to take most of their issues in stride. I ultimately decided to reinforce certain parts, like the antennae and wings, myself with hot glue. If I ever decide to do this project again (the kit has enough pieces to make 12 fingerpuppets) I need to find a better glue, yet one that is still kid-friendly. The instructions in the kit called for a "low temperature" glue gun. I may have to look into getting one. Yay for the amateur-art-teacher learning curve!

Ultimately, I think the kids had fun...and that's what's most important.





Pictures they drew during "free drawing" time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Mom's Letterbox Journal

Here is a peek at Mom's Letterbox Journal...

The journal itself was made by SoftShellCrafts. Mom bought it at this past spring's Mayday Underground show. I think the map is of part of Michigan.

These are all letterboxes she's found since August...

Labor Day Letterboxing

CJ and I went on our first letterboxing excursion with my Mom on Monday when my parents came out to visit.

Letterboxing is kind of like Geocaching, but with rubber stamps...
"Letterboxing is an intriguing pastime combining artistic ability with "treasure-hunts" in parks, forests, and cities around the world. Participants seek out hidden letterboxes by cracking codes and following clues. The prize: an image from a miniature piece of art known as a rubber stamp—usually a unique, hand-carved creation." - from AtlasQuest

My Mom has really gotten into letterboxing lately. It combines some of her favorite things...rubber stamps, roadtrips, and adventure! She recently found a site, AtlasQuest, that lists letterbox locations online, and you can search for letterbox locations in your area. She did a bunch of them over her vacation that she and Dad took with some friends of theirs. And she did a search on AtlasQuest for letterboxes in the area near my house, and found quite a few of them. We decided, on a whim, to go find one of them when Mom and Dad were visiting us for Labor Day.

Mom searching for the letterbox...

A big part of letterboxing etiquette is secrecy, I guess, just in case other letterboxers are around, so you don't spoil it and make finding the letterbox too easy for someone else. Something my parents and their friends have found is that having a dog is a great "cover" for gallivanting around outside, since it just looks like you're taking your dog for a walk.

Luna enjoyed being out-and-about with us.

Another part of preserving the secrecy is that most people take the letterboxes back to their cars to do the stamping...

(for some letterboxers, the surprise of seeing what the stamp design looks like is half the fun, so if that's you, go no further!)

This is what is in the box...a stamp (hand-carved) and the logbook, where you can see the signature stamps of others who have found the letterbox! Some letterboxes will have an ink pad included as well, but a lot of them don't, so it's wise to carry your own ink pad with your signature stamp.

This is Mom's "signature stamp", an Adirondack chair stamp that was hand-carved by Jackbear Stamps, and was given to her for her birthday by me and CJ. A signature stamp is "The stamp letterboxers use to identify themselves, both in the logbooks of letterboxes they've found and for exchanges. Also called personal stamps.".

"Letterboxers stamp their discoveries in a personal journal, then use their own rubber stamp, called a signature stamp, to stamp into the letterbox's logbook." (well, or vice versa, like Mom did!)

I'm not sure CJ and I would like to be hard-core letterboxers, (some people get really involved in this hobby!) but it seems like a fun activity! It's one of those things we could do on one of those "It's awfully nice out today, lets take the dog and go somewhere!" kind of days! According to Mom, there are at least 30 in the Medina area. And I think fall is a great time to do this type of thing! It may even be a cool activity for the Homeschool Art Class!

If you want to learn more about letterboxing, I'd encourage you to poke around AtlasQuest and/or Google "Letterboxing".