Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Snow in Melbourne? Plasticine Snow worlds and Snowman window decals

In the final days before Christmas the art and craft doesn't stop in our house.  On our first home day of holidays the kids decorated our windows with snowmen and fake snow and made a little snow scene box.

These were really easy, just cut out three circles from coloured paper, baking paper or contact (we had some pretty silver contact).  Stick to the window (we used a glue stick for the paper ones - it will wash off when you take them down).  Cut out eyes, buttons, hats from paper and glue on.  You can also use window markers to add details.  Spray some fake snow onto the window.  Now it looks cold and snowy in Melbourne!

Plasticine Snow Scenes
I made some little boxes with sides (to keep the snow in) from some cardboard I had lying around.  The kids then made Christmas figurines out of Plasticine to put into the box.  We had some fake snow left from Leo's science party so we had some fun making that and adding to the boxes to make it look all snowy...

The kids also asked to make their own snow globes yet I ran out of energy - another time!


Monday, 23 December 2013

Edible Art - Yum Yum Yum!!!

Edible art lesson - decorating gingerbread houses, marshmallow lollipops, cereal bracelets and reindeer food
I wanted to finish the year with a really fun lesson that was a bit different to the others.  I'd been playing with the idea of edible art and then a few weeks ago when Poppy and I were in the city we came across an edible art display by "The Hotham Street Ladies".  They had made rugs, pictures, books, pillows, wallpaper etc all out of icing.  Great inspiration for an edible art lesson. 

I thought the lesson could get a little out of hand with children on a sugar high so we had a a rule around not eating as we made our art (this reinforced the rule about no eating in the art room).  Once their parents picked them up they could of course eat their art (with Mum or Dad's permission).

Prior to the lesson we discussed how art comes in many forms and making cakes, cookies and other edible delights can be a form of art.  Some cake makers are very very creative.  We discussed Connie Viney who has made life size gingerbread houses - the children liked the idea of that!

Then it was onto the lesson.  The children rotated around the table so everyone was doing something different. 

1. Gingerbread Houses

Mini Gingerbread house ready to decorate

Yes there was an insane amount of prep for this lesson.  I baked 30 mini gingerbread houses and I will admit it took hours and a few late nights.  I made my own cardboard house first and then used this as my template for the houses.  I used this recipe for the gingerbread. 

Once the gingerbread was cool I assembled the houses attaching the sides and ends first using royal icing. I used a few cups to balance it all until it was semi dry.  I waited until the sides were completely hard before attaching the roof, again using some cups to balance it all.  Thankfully none of them collapsed!

The children then decorated the already assembled houses.  I passed out a bowl of lollies, a small zip lock bag with royal icing in it (which I cut off the corner as I passed it to them) and small balls of coloured fondant.  They decorated the houses and surrounding board (the boards are just spare cardboard I had covered in foil).  We also had some runny icing and coconut to add at the end for snow.

Here are some of the results - what a good job they did!

2. Sugar Art

Coloured Sugar
This is the same as sand art yet instead of sand you use coloured sugar.  I got this idea from the Souffle Bombay blog.  I purchased some little spice jars from Dollar King and coloured the sugar using food colourings.  Leave the coloured sugar to dry out for a day after colouring (I have read you can do this in the oven too, yet I tried with one batch and burnt it!!).

I just put the bowls of coloured sugar on the table with spoons in them and the children spooned the coloured sugar mixture in layers (some mixed it up - that's OK too) into the jars.  I also provided bamboo skewers if they wished to make patterns.

Ensure the bottle is completely full and then seal (my bottles had a bit of a dent in the lids so we put cotton wool in it).

Admire (Mum's choice) or Eat (Children's choice). It could be spooned onto cereal or something.

3. Grape Structures

My kids love doing these.  Simply provide toothpicks and a bowl of grapes and leave them to construct a structure.  You can use mini marshmallows instead of grapes and for a bigger structure use marshmallows and spaghetti.  Click here for my post on this.

4. Painting with Chocolate

A nice novelty from normal painting.  Melt some chocolate in a bowl.  Provide some paintbrushes (clean unused ones, cleaned well with dish washing detergent first) and some baking paper.  I let them paint whatever they wanted.  Place in fridge to harden chocolate which can then be peeled off and eaten.

5. Marshmallow Lollipops

Provide marshmallows, lollipop sticks, and edible food markers.  Stick the marshmallow onto the lollipop stick and then decorate with the edible food markers.

6. Edible Necklaces and Bracelets

Provide fruit loops (or other cereal with holes in the middle) and craft string.  Thread cereal onto string and tie the ends.

7. Reindeer Food

To finish the lesson we also made some reindeer food, this is a bit of a tradition in our household so I thought all the kids could make some.  There are a few recipes out there yet we generally use oats, hundreds and thousands and edible glitter (which is simply the coloured sugar which we used in the sugar art).  Mix ingredients and put into a bag.  Sprinkle on the grass on Christmas Eve.

We had two artists of the week this week.

The Hotham Street Ladies who are a group of five women based in Melbourne who make street art, installations, public art, recipe books and cakes.  They currently have an installation at Federation Square as part of the Melbourne Now Festival.  The exhibition will run until March.  There is a great video that shows some of their work on the ABC website - click here.

Our second artist of the week was Connie Viney.  Connie Viney is a British artist known for her outlandish and larger than life sculptures and installations made from cake and icing.  She recently exhibited a full size gingerbread house.

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and Happy New Year!


Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Making Christmas Decorations

Find it Decoration, Painted Porcelain Decoration, Salt Dough chains and some finger knitting on our tree
I love Christmas its an exciting time of the year to really get into art and craft.  Our house just goes crazy..  I've done homemade Christmas decorations with my children since they were really little.  I love a tree with odd bits and pieces and lots of things made by children.  My children also decorate the tree so its usually a bit of a jumbled mess with lots of decorations at the front and at kid height (which is why it has toppled over on occasion).

The jumbled mess of our Christmas Tree
So its no surprise that I themed a lesson on making Christmas Decorations...

Below is a list of what we made and YES we actually made ALL of these in one lesson.  There are going to be some lovely looking Christmas trees in Bentleigh this year!

1. Find It Christmas Ornament

This idea came from this pin.  So easy yet so effective.  My children love asking people to find all the things in their decoration.   The clear globes can be bought from art and craft stores.  There are lots of other things you can do with these clear globes.  Check out this site for some wonderful ideas.  We just filled them with things I had in the art room, pipe cleaners, feathers, Christmas sequins, normal sequins, glitter, tinsel, beads, buttons, ribbon and googly eyes.  The children wrote / drew their lists as they filled the globes.  Some children also decorated the globes with permanent markers.

2. Porcelain Christmas Ornament
I happened to have my Porcelain paints out after I got my Saturday class to paint plates a few weeks ago (pic below)
I then stumbled upon these beautiful porcelain Christmas ornaments at the shops.  So the Tuesday and Thursday classes got to paint these.  They turned out really well and look great hanging on the Christmas tree.

3. Salt Dough
Always a favourite in our house.  Click here for a previous post and the recipe.
I'm really happy with my method of painting with watercolours before they dry and then sprinkling with lots of glitter.  I then place them in the oven to dry,  finish off with a layer of Mod Podge and add some string.   This enables it all to be done in one lesson.  We used Christmas shaped cutters, Christmas stamps and pony beads to decorate. My daughter also came up with the idea of doing lots of little stars to glue along a string.  We have a few of these strung around our tree like tinsel.  We also attempted a few 3D ones using some 3D cutters I had. 

The Artful Parent just did a post on melted crayon salt dough decorations - that's now on my to do list for next Christmas!

Early finishers also made:

4. Melted Crayon Paper Chains
This is another wonderful idea from The Artful parent and can be found in her ebook Winter. Simply make melted crayon paper, click here for my post on how to do this.  Cut into strips and make into a chain. (Sorry forgot to take a pic as currently hanging in the art studio).  Poppy also made normal paper chains with coloured paper, including the big one hanging on our tree (in pic above).

5. Finger Knitting Chains for the tree
Yes the finger knitting frenzy continues in our house and in art class, will it ever end???  We now have finger knitting on the Christmas tree..

6. Pipe cleaner Decorations
Very easy yet a goodie.  Simply thread pony beads onto your pipe cleaner, bend into a Christmas shape (or not) and hang on your tree.

Wishing everyone a wonderful Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year!