Art on the Road

I always pack a selection of art and craft items when I travel. The amount and type vary depending of where I am going and how I am getting there. On a recent trip to Queenscliff I didn’t take anything as I didn’t think I would have time to do any art. When the weather turned bad and some of the activities fell through I was annoyed with myself for not being prepared. I started seeing inspirations everywhere and wanted to record them. I found myself looking for an art supply shop or a newsagent to buy something to get me by. A pack of watercolour pencils, some felt tip pens and a new mini sketchbook was all I needed.

So when I am prepared and know I’m going away for a while I have a few go to items that I pack.

A small pack of watercolour pencils is essential as well as a pad of paper or a journal. I also pack a travel watercolour pallet, some brushes, felt tip pens and a nice set of lead pencils. A pair of scissors, washi tape and some glue will also allow you to glue, cut and add to your journal along the way. These items will also add some fun and can be used if you want to scrap book your travels.

It will really depend on your art style as to what you will be taking on your travels however if  this is all new to you or if your packing for children these items would be enough to inspire them to get creative while on the road.

When packing for my toddler I always pack some safety scissors, glue stick, fat pencils or crayons and my instax camera so I can capture the adventures and let him create his own postcards, travel diary or posters. I love to then add these to my visual diary as a memory of his age and his art creations at the time.

Adding your Children’s Books to the Bookshelf

We have been going through a make a book stage at our house. My toddler loves to staple, glue and stick anything and everything. He also loves to paint and print (like most toddlers). Our house however is getting to the stage where we have no more room to display artwork and we would like to have some areas free for toddler art.

I also don’t want to throw out this artwork as I’m sure one day I will want to look back and be reminded of what his hand looked like when he was two or how great a job he did when using a Gelli pad for the first time (New post on Gelli pad are coming soon). So I have started to compile his work into books. Almost like a scrap book (I don’t really like what this term refers to now) more like a visual diary collection.

As well add this we have been using some very cute concertina sketch books to make our own stories. We have used pencils, markers and watercolours so far. I get them out when I know he needs a rest but still is being active. I assist with the use of the tools and then add the words to represent the images. He uses the equipment in his art trolly to create masterpiece after masterpiece.

Since putting together a small collection of personal books we have spend many hours reading them and looking at the words and pictures.

Give it a go and you will be surprised with the love and joy shown when reading or showing off the special book.

Any activity that can help to install a love of reading and learning is a winner in my book!

 

 

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Making an Outdoors Play Space

My toddler has decide he just wants to stay home and play. When asked if he wants to go swimming, go to the shops, even playgroup he replies with ‘no mummy, play outside’. This is fine by me as we all love our backyard and working in the veggie patch or garden is a supper fun hobby of mine.

So over the weekend we decided to have yet another working bee and add some features to the toddlers cubby house he got for christmas to make him a proper outdoor play area.

We had been given some fake turf in a rang of colours as well as having some free left over from another project so decided this would be the basis for our design.

After a trip to the hardware shop and a sausage in bread for the meat eaters we headed home in some wood and screws in tow.

We didn’t really know how this project would turn out but I did have an idea in my head for what i envisaged. Many hours spent playing dinosaurs with leaves, twigs and building caves with rocks and old opts. The image seemed so fun. So we started the build. Lucky the toddler headed off for his nap leaving the adults to work away at an alarming rate to get the area ready for the spurs reveal after the afternoon snooze.

The end result was pretty similar to what I had planned. But as aways as we worked away more and more ideas come to our minds on what the areas needs, so we will be spending a few more weekends out on the tools turning the back corner into a toddlers paradise.

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Weaving on a Loom

I recently purchased a loom from the other side of the country. I wanted a loom that was made of wood, looked cute and had some fun accessories to accompany it. It is lucky that we have so many great online shopping sites that allow us to purchase items from anywhere we like.

This item came handmade from Russia. There was something that drew me in when I read the ‘handmade in Russia’ label and saw the whimsical photos that accompanied. Photo’s of a youngish girl wearing a long dress, sitting in a field of wildflowers weaving with pastel wool. She had such lovely long wavy hair. You couldn’t see her face but just new she was a natural beauty. Straight away i pictured myself sitting in this field, enjoying the sunshine, smelling the flowers and weaving until my heart was content. What a craft girls fairytale.

The packaged arrived on a sunny afternoon. wrapped in old fashion brown paper that was ripped open in an instant to reveal my wooden loom in three pieces. My heart sank. What had happened during the shipping process. All of a sudden my image of sunshine, wild flowers and pastels faded to broken wood splinters.

I just stood and looked at the loom. I really didn’t know what to do. Where to start. Lucky for me the hand guy I live with (My husband) took the many pieces of the loom to the man cave and returned with it an hour later all fixed with a bit of love (liquid nails and tiny screws).

The fairy tales returned. I headed outdoors for a tad of plein air weaving.

My weaving aim thus far is to use only wool that has been discarded, thrown away or purchased at a thrift shop. Some projects have been on hold during the course of wool finding. Others are waiting with their matching wool groups for the perfect fit. It is a slow process but there is something challenging and exciting about finding the right fit and using something that has been discarded. Also the wool I buy is only about $3.00 and not $20 plus. A Bargain. Working with natural fibres is also very enchanting, the feel and the process excites me.

The next step is to hand dye some natural wool I bought at a country market.

Here are a few of my weaving projects so far, as well as the one waiting on the loom for my next wooly find.

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Basket Weaving

Weaving is an old craft. Basket weaving is the process of weaving or sewing natural or pliable materials into a three dimensional shape that can be used to store, carry or hold items.

I begun to experiment with basket weaving leading up to Christmas last year when I wanted to create a carry case to hold my handcrafted Christmas presents. I wanted to create a carry case that would be a gift in itself, not something else to end up in landfill and something that would be treasured, used again and something using natural materials.

I experimented with a range of natural ropes and found that the rough ones doesn’t slip as easy and hold their shape more once constructed. I experimented with sewing, gluing and tying.

The following process is only one method and it is the easiest method I found to get a quick basked that can be as big or small as you like.

You will need:
~ A long piece of rope. This will depend on the basket you wish to make. I bought about ten metres at my home hardware store and just cut it off when the basket reached the size I wanted.
~A plastic needle with a large eye. (The eye is the end of the needle the cotton, or sewing material thread through)
~ A selection of Raffia in any colour you choose.

Steps:
1. Start by wrapping the raffia tight around the end of the rope until you are happy with the tension and then rap the end of the rope into a coil to begin the base of the basket. Use the raffia and needle to thread through the tight gapes between the coils and pull tight.

2. Continue to wrap the rope into a basket shape and putt tight overlapping the raffia using the needle.

The rope must be pulled tight and held tight which was a bit hard on my hands. But I did manage to make a small basket in one sitting.

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Visual Diaries with Children …..or Adults

A visual diary has many uses. Creative folk keep these as a journal, visual notebook, ideas book, mediums and styles tester journal and for other reason like travels diaries. I however keep them for all of the above. There is something wonderful about opening a new diary or starting a fresh page. I also love to look back through these journals and see what inspired me at the time or what I was influenced by. A visual journal should be a visually pleasing book. something you enjoy working on, sharing and viewing.

Think decorative headings, cutting up paper or packaging, gluing images you find pleasing, fabrics, ribbons, using coloured pens, pencils or markers, paints, printing, photos and anything else you love.

Some people however find it daunting to look at a new blank page or a new diary. Where do they start or what should be the first mark.

I have been working on a plan for visual diary ideas to get creative minded people started on what should be first.

Take the 30 Day Visual Journal Challenge

To Get Started:

What book do I use?

Start by finding a book or a journal with blank pages. This will give you creative freedom with the direction of how each page can be used. If we have lines we automatically think we need to stick to them, within them or on them. Blank pages can be used upside down, sideways diagonal or any other way you can think of.

What is your aim?

Why are you starting a visual diary? Is it for work, pleasure, to keep track of your ideas, inspirations or a visually pleasing book to showcase your holiday or cooking ideas. I keep many visual journals for many different purposes. I have work books to sketch ideas and brainstorm, art journals that house my ideas and inspiration for my next project and journals for holidays, recipes and projects.

How will you keep up to date?

Set aside some time each day to update or add to your journal. Plan each day when you will work on your journal. This will help to ensure you get around to it. Choose a time when you are able to sit for an amount of time that suits you and what you wish to achieve. Set up somewhere you can spread out with all the tools you will need.

 

To get started click on the page titled: The 30 Day Visual Diary Challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

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Easter Bunny Masks

Working as an art teacher I am always pre planning fun activities that relate to special events that are celebrated during the year. Especially events that children enjoy. I love handmade gifts, decorations and items that engage children in these events that they love so much.

As we approach Easter I have been busily cutting (also hired some helpful parents) to cut out approximately 100 bunny masks. I choose felt as the medium as the texture related to the soft fur of a fluffy bunny. I love using felt and try to expose children to a range of mediums and textures. It is good for their sensory development. Felt also lasts longer when little fingers are taking on and pulling off their masks over and over again. My third reason for choosing felt is that it a great surface to glue on to using a regular glue stick.

Use the scraps that are left over from the cutting out of the mask as these are great for gluing on to the mask. You might also like to try cotton wool balls and any other craft items you may have. This will make the masks more personal and fun!

I used a hole punch to put two holes in the mask where I tied on some hat elastic. You might like to sew the elastic on.
 

 

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