Friday, June 3, 2016

Artist Study: A Holiday Project

No doubt you will have figured out that we like to 'do art and craft' in our household. Creativity has been adopted as one of our essential ways to relax, expand, and worship (and to be honest a way to keep kids from the dreaded 'bored'). Although the big girls will still occasionally recycle some boxes into a craft project, or have arty fun with pipe cleaners and pompoms, they are more interested in drawing manga or designing fashion these days. And since there is precious little art study left in primary school curriculum, I am always on the lookout for different means to stretch their abilities (while still being suitable for a five year old to participate).

Last year, during the school holidays, I prepared a few projects to teach them about some favourite artists, and let them explore with a variety of techniques. We got books out from the library and discussed each artist's style and what we most liked before beginning our art. All project ideas came from someone else so I have attached the links if you want to try them too!

First, Gustav Klimt. We used potato stamps, gold and silver and bronze paint, and a black sharpie.
Then, Van Gogh. We used white crayons, watercolour paints, black paper and starry stickers.
Next, Cezanne. I loved watching the kids interpretations of a bowl of fruit! Just regular acrylic paints (and some patience)!
Then we tried our hand at Picasso. For this we used coloured paper to make a collage.
Finally, Kadinsky. Acrylic paint and a black sharpie.
So, if you are planning some inside days these holidays, you could give these a go! Invite your friends and family after to view the gallery of art and bid on their favourite piece. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Tree House

It went like this:
"Hi Grandpa, I have these little fairies and I want to make a home for them but I need wood. Is there any chance you have some small discs of wood? Love India"
"Yes, I can cut you some from the old tree branches in the backyard. Love Grandpa."

A couple of days later, Grandpa arrived, not just with tree discs but with a base and the two tall platforms already screwed in. India and I got to work gluing and waiting and making decorations for the fairies tree house over the following week. We made the front staircase, the lower platform, the mini bunting and hanging decorations removable so that India could change things up and really play. (After a few photos, I asked her to set it up according to her taste, just to show you how it can change)!

I have such a resourceful and creative family, I really am blessed. I know I can do and make things that others can't (and for cheap, this cost us $12 for some spray varnish to preserve the bark and a few dollars for beads used in decorations) because I have a big pool of skills and resources to beg and borrow from. Go team, we made a little girl (and her fairies) really happy!

Thursday, March 17, 2016


An actual five minutes in the life of a Mum (on a Saturday, the most relaxed morning of the week in our house). 

Things I did: retrieved the 'favourite' shorts from high up on the washing line; rescued Dad's earphones from being chewed; washed a child's hair while they were in the shower; rescued a baby sitting on the wet floor of the other shower; and oversaw another child making second breakfast in the kitchen.

Things I was asked: would the black shirt or blue shirt look better with blue shorts?; did the black shirt come from a shop or a friend?; does the shampoo smell like blueberry or cherry lollies to you?; can you see what the soap picture on the shower screen wall is of?; could you tell me what I feel like eating?; can you read this favourite book (in baby speak)?; what I should draw?; and Muuuummmm...? (six times). 

Things that went through my mind: have I fed the baby breakfast?; I have to be quiet in this shower room so the baby doesn't notice I'm in here and cry because she wants to go in too; why is there an inside chair outside in the rain?; who scattered the pegs around the yard?; and how am I going to get my phone back after it was dropped into the bag and delivered to the op shop yesterday? 

Ok, be nice to Mums.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

This One Skill That I Have: Part 2

"In a world where news of inhumanity bombards our sensibilities, where grasping for things goes so far beyond our needs, where time is squandered in busyness, it is a pleasure and a privilege to pause for a look at handiwork, to see beauty amidst utility, and to know that craft traditions begun so long ago serve us today" John Wilson

Last time, gifts for adults.
Today, gifts for girls!

My friend the camel beanbag (perfect size for toddler to sit in between the neck and hump)!
Ranger bracers for the adventurous girl 
A friend for Abby, and Milly.  
 Sweet baby nappy pants and hair accessories 
 Felt tea bags for tea party play
 Dress-up apron with a heart pocket
Felt birthday crown
 Sparkly mermaid tail

Sunday, February 14, 2016

A Paris Party

The lady on checkout when I bought party goods (a birthday candle and ten packets of chocolate wafers are a dead giveaway), asked what kind of party we were hosting for our ten year old. When I said "it's a Paris party", she asked if kids still knew of her. Very grateful that my classy Mademoiselle chose An Afternoon in Paris over anything Paris Hilton!
Here are the details.

We used an image of Elara in Paris drawn by my youngest sister as the background for the invitations.

As the focal point for the 'cafe' the girls would visit, we (husband and wife joint effort) made an awning. Just one item and our back deck looked Ooh la la! Some painted cardboard window panes, potted plants and flowers, pretty cake stands, and a couple of sets of white iron table and chairs (borrowed and freshly painted by my older younger sister and husband - merci!), and the cafe was scene was set.

The food was tres bon: chocolate eclairs; toffee dipped, creme patisserie filled, profiteroles; chocolate caramel tarts; mini quiches; croque monsieur bites; fruit; and french fries! Making all the food is a big part of the fun for me.

While the girls ate we offered a few activities and games to give them the full Paris experience. My artist/baker sister came and drew quick portraits for each of the girls. They were beautiful and a fair effort when there were twelve excitable girls! We took instant photos next the a miniature (borrowed) Eiffel Tower, then made our own Tower sculptures from wafers and icing. Then we had a wandering florist give out chocolate roses (which introduced our Paris themed, G-rated Truth or Dare game). This was mostly successful despite everyone on sugar-highs! Each girl had a truth and a dare hidden in her rose and took turns to read them and act on them (I've added these at the bottom of the post for anyone who could use them).

Part way through the rose game we all heard a big thuwump and went outside to see Elara's beautiful macaron tower cake smashed on the ground (thanks/no thanks wind)! Fortunately, my sister (who made the macarons) and I (who, I'm not going to lie, put a lot of hours into it) and Elara (who was in awe of it) all saw the lighter side AND there was enough to go around and enjoy after the fall!
At the end of the afternoon, all the girls had a magnifique afternoon and took home a bag with all their goodies (portrait, instant photo, chocolate rose, and a croissant).

Hope you can enjoy these few photos of the day!
Dare: Pretend you are walking the Paris catwalk, modelling some fancy clothes! Dare: See how many berets you can balance on your head! Dare: Eat some frogs legs! Dare: Exchange a clothing item with the person on your right! Dare: For the duration of the game you must call out ‘Ooh La La’ randomly! Dare: Everything you say for the next 15minutes must be sung to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday’! Dare: Try escargot! Dare: Find three stuffed animals and say ‘Bonjour’ to each!
Dare: Play ‘This Little Piggy Went to Market’ (in a French accent, of course) on one person’s toes! Dare: Be a mime and copy the actions and expressions of the person on your left for one minute! Dare: Waltz along pretend cobbled streets under the pretend moonlight with your pretend partner! Dare: Give the French greeting kiss to 3 others in the circle! Dare: Dance the Can-Can for one verse (while everybody sings)!  Truth: If you woke up invisible, what is the first thing you would do?
Truth: What is the funniest thing you’ve done at school?
Truth: Do you dribble in your sleep?
Truth: What would you do with unlimited money to spend in Paris for one day?
Truth: What is the strangest dream you’ve ever had?
Truth: Have you ever said something out loud that you were thinking, without realising that you’d said it? What was it? Truth: What do you like most about the birthday girl?
Truth: Do you ever sneak snacks when your parents aren’t looking? Truth: If you could be an animal, what would you be? Truth: What is a secret wish that you have? Truth: What are you afraid of? Truth: What is your favourite tv show? 
Truth: Who is your favourite movie character?
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