Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Rainbow Canvas Art

Paint, glue, glitter, stickers, coloured paper and cotton wool balls. What is there not to love?! This was today's project. First I gave Jessica a blank canvas along with white, bright blue and dark blue watercolours. She's very much into experimenting with mixing colours at the moment so the three wells in the palette were soon all full of much the same shade of blue but I'd expected that. I didn't prime the canvas beforehand so she was fascinated to see how the paint soaked into the canvas and even fizzed a bit at times (I have no idea why this happened!). 

While we waited for the canvas to dry we cut thin strips of coloured paper to use as the rainbow. Jessica is not pleased that rainbows do not have pink in them - please, please let this obsession be a phase! Anyway, once dry we used double-sided sticky tape to attach the paper in arches on the canvas forming the 3D rainbow. Jessica glued the cotton wool balls on as clouds and then added the glitter glue rain and sunshine sticker. As usual, the little lady was thrilled with the finished piece. 

Peppa's Garden

Occasionally a magazine or activity book will succeed in capturing our imagination and inspiring a crafting project. This time it was a Peppa Pig magazine containing a nice cut out and play garden set. We liked the greenhouse and the characters but there had to be more we could do. An afternoon later, we had tissue paper and pompom bushes, crystal flowers, a pond with stamp painted ripples, pebble path, twig tree complete with owls and weeds from our garden planted in a margarine tub. Fabulous!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Ocean Suncatchers

Is it possible that contact paper (sticky back plastic) is the best thing since sliced bread?! I can't resist the mess free wonder of the stuff and have usually got a couple of rolls lying around. I've only used it for craft purposes myself but I have seen some lovely sensory ideas using it with little ones such as walking on it taped to the floor. 

The first time we used it to make suncatchers was at Fingringhoe Fledglings, a preschool group at a local Wildlife Trust visitor centre but we've done several since. We use things like tissue paper, coloured films and glitter to create them. I cut the aperture out of a rectangular piece of card and cover the whole thing with contact paper before letting Jessica do her thing. Once she's finished sticking I cut around the aperture to make a card outline around the suncatcher...

In addition, when we did them at our Toddler Group we added some ripped tissue paper tentacles to make these lovely jellyfish. There was much discussion about whether jellyfish should have eyes and if so, how many. Neither of our solutions are accurate but this is craft not Biology! As you can see, Jessica also took the opportunity to practise her scissor skills out on the one she made at the group. 

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Cardboard Kitchen

Who needs a fancy wooden or plastic play kitchen? Not Jessica. She has a Mummy who buys paint taster pots when they're reduced to clear and then creates cupboards, cookers, washing machines, microwaves, shelving units and even a wine rack under the sink (actually, let's call that a drinks unit!) from cardboard boxes. Everyone knows that kids like nothing more than a cardboard box, right?!....

Toilet Roll Owls (Tesco Kit)

This was a Tesco's craft kit that Jessica particularly enjoyed putting together. We used glue dots as a time and mess saving cheat avoiding the need to wait for messy glue to dry but aside from that we just followed the instructions provided. They were clear and easy to follow; the kit made up as well as I would expect. Jess particularly liked the effect of using bottle tops as eyes. There was definitely no need to buy this kit, it wouldn't have taken me long to cut out all the pieces myself but I had spotted it on sale and was certainly worth the price I paid.

The Scarecrows' Wedding Collage

Jessica was given a copy of Julia Donaldson's "The Scarecrows' Wedding" last year and it quickly became a firm favourite in our house. So, when Amanda, who had given us the book, spotted a theatre production of the story on at the Leicester Square Theatre in the summer we jumped at the chance to go and see it. It was such a lovely production and we had a fantastic day; I would highly recommend these shows aimed at little ones. They are magical experiences and the ticket prices aren't too bad at all. 

Anyway, back to the craft. In the week leading up to the show Jessica and I immersed ourselves in the book and went on our own scavenger hunt to find some of the things that the scarecrows in the story had had to find for their wedding. Once we were happy with our collection we set about making a collage of Betty O'Barley to give to Amanda on the day of the show. We found pink flowers, straw for her hair, beads (instead of shells) for her necklace and plenty of feathers for her dress. Here's the finished piece - please excuse Jessica also looking like a scarecrow; we were growing her fringe out at the time!

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Pasta Suncatchers

At the moment, term time weekends usually involve a significant amount of preparation for our Monday morning craft session at the West Bergholt Baby and Toddler group. The craft this week has had me dyeing and drying pasta and rice all week though. It's the first time I've tried dyeing pasta and it took a fair amount of experimentation before I got it down to a fine art. 

I tried using food colouring but the results were very variable so I decided to try liquid watercolours. I mixed a squirt of colour with five squirts of hand sanitizer (apologies for the lack of scientific measures!) in a ziplock bag before adding a few handfuls of pasta or rice and shaking/rubbing the bag to distribute the colour. I have read that the alcohol in the sanitizer helps to spread the colour evenly and I believe vinegar works in much the same way. I'm really pleased with the results of these and will definitely do it this way again.

So, the craft itself. We're making pasta suncatchers. I've been collecting plastic lids for months! Jess and I have had a couple of trial runs this week and they seem to work quite well. We spread a layer of PVA glue (mixed with a small amount of glitter glue) onto a plastic lid and then stick pasta and rice on top. 

That's it. Leave them to dry for a couple of days and they start peeling off the lid. Once you've eased them off you can pierce a hole and thread some string through to hang it up in the window. I have finally been allowed to take our Halloween pieces down to make room for these!

Friday, 27 January 2017

Toilet Roll Marionette Puppies

This was one of Jessica's special requests. My Facebook feed is full of wonderful ideas from places like Red Ted Art and just occasionally one catches Jessica's attention, her wide eyes fix on me and before I know it we're getting everything out and having a go ourselves. 

As you can see, Jessica is currently favouring pink above all other colours (even insisting on a pink cat cake for her birthday) and so we currently have a couple of pink puppies living with us. They have been named Singie and Dancie. She thinks they're brilliant!

Who knew a few toilet rolls, craft sticks, googly eyes, some wool, beads and pink paper, a couple of pompoms and a pipe cleaner could provide so much pleasure?! I must admit there is also a certain degree of imagination required from Jessica, not to mention my willingness to follow her orders, to have quite as much fun with them as we manage.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

I'm back!

It's about time I started sharing my crafting exploits again. I must warn you that there is going to be a shift though. I have little time for my own craft these days but I do plenty of toddler crafts. Jessica is very good at indulging me (as well as making her own requests sometimes) and I do a weekly craft at a local, wonderful, toddler group.

The first craft I want to share was created by transferring Jessica's drawings onto wood and then burning over the image. I really love these and made quite a lot as gifts at Christmas. I do need to improve my pyrography skills but that will come with time and practice. I spotted some lovely ideas on the Hobbycraft blog yesterday that I might well try at some point.

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