Friday, February 20, 2015

Potluck Collage Art Party

Last night we went to a fun Family Art Night event. They had four stations set up. One was a low table covered with white paper and ornate empty picture frames drawn on. Young children could take markers and draw portraits of their families. One was a table of potatoes, cutting boards and knives, paintbrushes, acrylic paints, inks, and bristol board.

My husband carved my name in one potato and his name in the other and made a beautiful paper with the two of our names in different colored circles.

One station was devoted to the art style of Amedeo Modigliani. We had a page of information and some samples of his work. We also had long rectangles of black construction paper. By folding the paper in half long wise, then in half and in half again short wise, we had a way to get our proportions correct. The head was a long oval that took up the top half of the paper. The next quarter down was the neck. The final quarter was the shoulders. We had oil pastels to use on our black paper.

(The bottom link is to a 2015 calendar. Buying calendars gives you nice classroom-sized sturdy examples of an artist's work, even better if you cut and laminate them, and buying a calendar in February means you get a GREAT discount on the price -- as of today $4.78 and free shipping!)

Lastly, there were four tables covered in white paper and boxes of blocks. These were large pieces of scrap wood. There were scrapbook papers and decorative hole punches, hammers and nails, paints and brushes, feathers, embroidery flosses, and lots and lots of mod podge.

We painted and decorated our blocks any way we chose. Many people put in designs with nails and then wrapped them with the embroidery floss.

I was really wishing we had buttons on the table, when I came up with a great idea. Why not have a Potluck Collage Art Party? You could supply the wood blocks and some basic essentials. Everyone who came to the party could bring a box or bag of some supply they have at home that they think would be cool for an art project. Then you could spread it all out on the table. My husband brought home some some scrap wire yesterday and the girls are having a great time to day making sculptures with it! So I asked Natalie if she'd like to have that be the theme for her birthday party next month and she said YES! She is very excited. She's also excited about her cake, since we found a birthday candle that is a Question Mark. She wants me to write with frosting on her cake "12 + 1 =" and then put the ? candle.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

How to De-Mainstream

Yes, people who have plastic and battery-powered toys really do take them all out overnight and change things over to the Waldorf way, with woven baskets of shells and pinecones and stones. I've done it. You simply say, "Oh! The toy fairies have come!!" And the kids are so excited!! They rarely ask where their old things have gone. If so, you can say they are put aside for another time.

35 inch square Waldorf playsilks

Kim John Payne offers some wisdom on this. His explanations are precisely put and calmly logical. This is from Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids

He has a ten point checklist on "toys without staying power." Here it is:


  • 1. broken toys
  • 2. developmentally inappropriate toys
  • 3. conceptually "fixed" toys (detailed molded plastic characters from movies, comic books, or TV shows)
  • 4. toys that do too much or break too easily
  • 5. very high-stimulation toys (flashing lights, mechanical voices, sound effects)
  • 6. annoying or offensive toys
  • 7. toys that claim to give your child a developmental edge
  • 8. toys you are pressured to buy
  • 9. toys that inspire corrosive play (play that isn't joyous or pleasant)
  • 10. toy multiples (reduce many versions or copies of the same toy to a more manageable and lovable little group)

Hope this helps. It's a great book and I highly recommend it as a read for a spouse or grandparents who are trying to understand this new approach!

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Snow Day

It is exciting to announce that I may be able to go to back to homeschooling!

Let's see... since I posted last I moved to Southern Illinois, started a new job, met a wonderful man, got engaged, got married, and discovered that we were expecting! The three girls are currently 10, 11, and 12... and we are having a little boy due Memorial Day! So now life is rearranged and good good things are happening. I'd love to start blogging again so here goes.

Today in Southern Illinois we are having Snow.

The girls are in a wonderful progressive school (for right now) and have a friend over. He and they are needle felting, having gone outside and covered themselves in snow and come back in to warm up and have hot chocolate. I finally decided the girls were old enough to move from wet felting to dry (although we made Soap in a Sweater for everyone for Christmas so they still love wet felting too) and gave everyone a starting craft kit in their stockings. It is all the rage in our house!!!

By the way, when we wet felt with the little soaps you get in a hotel, I usually have the kids wrap some wool yarn around the wool roving to help it hold in place. It simply felts and becomes part of the design and if you tie it like a little present, it looks adorable felted on to the base color.

I am knitting a baby blanket with a nice simple but pretty pattern in Antique Cream -- last time I was pregnant I hadn't discovered Waldorf yet and didn't know how to knit -- and just took a Mixed Berry Cobbler out of the oven.

I had today off work anyway for the holiday so it is lovely to be home snowed in and relaxing. I'm just finishing my second trimester and feeling very nesting-ish and cozy. Little Baby Scallion isn't yet making my back hurt or keeping me up at night, so I want to get as much done as possible too. I'm so fortunate that my new house, which we bought from my grandparents in order to keep it in the family after my grandmother passed away, has a big downstairs room which we have turned into a library. A LIBRARY! I've always wanted one, ever since I was a little girl. It's not in alphabetical order yet but there is still time. I had given most of my picture books away, or left them at Tidewater when I moved, not knowing I'd ever have another baby, so I need to start my Caldecott collection again!

2015 Caldecott Medal Winner

2015 Caldecott Honor Books