Thursday, December 24, 2009

Cookie painting & stained glass cookies finish the year @ WBCL

Although cold and rain threatened, we were warm and toasty with the wonderful smell of fresh cookies in the air. Using pre-packaged pre-cut cookies from the HEB and Pillsbury we made cookies to paint with gels and colored frostings. Although fun this was really overshadowed by the stained glass process. We used a varitey of mini-cookie cutters that I borrowed to cut out a hole in the center of the cookie. The kids then used a hammer to smash the lifesavers inside an envelope. They filled the hole with the smashed candy, frequently adding bits to other places on the cookie to decorate it more. Resting on their individual pieces of foil each cookie baked and created a "stained glass" area. Everyone was amazed at how they turned out. The pillsbury sugar cookie dough was a bit too soft and did not hold up as well as homemade but no one complained. I used the directions from this website to help out:
We had 3 wonderful special volunteers to help out and make this last crafts session of the year a bit more fun.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Of snowmen, snowglobes and other holiday figures at WBCL

After all the fun at school today with the snow globes, I expanded the make a snowman project to include them. Some of the older kids decided that the cards had just the right art work on them to use as scenes in their globes. Others used odd bits of ornament making supplies or drew and colored scenes. Some of the group created snowman bookmarks. One dad went his own way and made a santa instead.

The snowglobes are a 9 oz clear beverage glass mounted on an old CD/DVD. We added "snow" before gluing the project together. A few decided that gluing the scene to the inside of the glass worked better and did that.

This group meets every Wednesday at the Wells Branch Community Library creating arts & crafts projects from a wide variety of items on hand. Next week we'll paint cookies and learn to make stained glass cookies.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, December 11, 2009

Gingerbread people & hearts @ WBCL

What a fun and smelly ( in a nice way) program this was. I used homemade cinnamon clay dough * and baked 2 dozen gingerbread girls & boys and 2 dozen hearts the night before. I got the dough a little wet so they spent the night in the dehydrator to be nice and dry for class. We used pony beads, fabric and glitter glue to personalize each one before threading a ribbon through for hanging. The library even supplied small boxes from our recycling program to carry them home in.

*recipe for cinnamon clay dough
4 c flour 1 c salt
1 c water 1/2 c cinnamon
2T nutmeg 2 T ground gloves
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl with a spoon. Add water then mix and kneed until clay-like consistancey is reached. Add more flour if too wet. Roll out between parchment paper or wax paper to about 1/4"-3/8"
thickness and cut using cookie cutters. Bake at 300 degrees for 30-45 minutes. You can bake them at a lower temp for a lot longer if your oven will do this--mine will not. I used my dehydrator at 145 degrees overnight to finish drying them.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 7, 2009

Family Ornament making @ WBCL

Before it was even time to open the doors, there was a line of excited participants. Although I made examples, most found their imagination guided them as they selected shiny balls and stars to make one-of-a-kind ornaments emellished by all kinds of fuzzy and shiny add-ons.
Our shell angel table, candy train, birdhouses, and cork reindeer were popular as was the hot glue and glitter station to finish off many of the creations. Thanks to the many volunteers (12+) that helped the session went pretty smoothly.

Kids of all ages strung popcorn for hanging in the tree or on themselves. A few people turned floral picks into trees and decorated them too.

Suddenly it was after 4 and time to turn off the music and put the little bit of remainder into boxes for later. This 5th annual event at the Wells Branch Community Library may be a keeper.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Making and decorating photo cubes at WBCL

In one of our wonderful donations I found a sack if unassembled photo cubes. They sat for many months until making it to our class tonight. What fun! First we had to assemble these tabbed boxes--no small thing but everyone got them together and ready to personalize. Getting all the tabs in the right places is kind of tricky. Once you see what you are supposed to do, it is much easier. We borrowed all the tape containers the library had to put them together.
We used another great donation--scrapbook papers--to cut and paste all over the boxes. Everyone was able to find the right colors and patterns to make their box just perfect. We were able to use the paper cutters we got for the scrapbook supplies and glue sticks to make the project neat. I did have to get out the hot glue for adding buttons as the weight is just too much for the other glues on verticle surfaces. As you can see, several people demonstrated putting their face in the picture spot.
This family class lets us put lots of donations and left over materials to great use at the Wells Branch Community Library on Wednesday nights.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fall Banner Making at WBCL

To finish off the fall season we created banners from a variety of silk leaves, pinecones, scrapbook papers and a few other items pulled from the supplies. We pulled out our stencils and the ABC group's letters to use as templates for the lettering--a few of the kids decided that they wanted to hand letter the signs and use the papers for other design features. Some even incorportated the leaves from today's wacky science and feathers to create a rainbow or embelish the turkey she drew.
This group regularly has parents and kids working together on projects--leaving the mess to us and taking home something to show off. Thanks to the Wells Branch Community Library for offering the class.
Next week no class --we'll return in December for a full slate of early winter and pre-Christmas projects.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Reverse collage dishes for cookies and more at Wells Branch

The room at the Wells Branch Library was packed and everyone was interested in learning what on earth we were going to do. This really simple project had parents and kids fingering glue and table confetti, sequins, silk leaves, packing foil shred and tissue paper into a great plate for cookies or other dry foods. We even used the gold permanent markers to give them a bit of an edge.
Understanding how to assembel the project in reverse was a bit hard for some and projects had to be checked regularly and reassembled a couple of time to get them perfect but everyone was able to complete this one. It can be done on glass or plastic but we chose plastic due to the age of our participants. The final layer can be done with fabric but we use tissue for its lightness and color. This can be done with any table confetti so is perfect for other holidays or birthdays or special days.
If the humidity stays down for a couple of days these will be ready to use by the weekend.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Clay totems @ WBCL arts & crafts

What a great project this was! Trying to find things to do that are fun and different with many of our recyclables is sometimes challenging. The paper tubes are plentiful but sometimes need a bit of imagination to make them fun. This is a project we could do again and again with some variations of subject.

We started out with a slide presentation on real totems and what the various animals on them mean. We handed out the homemade clay in 6 colors, TP tubes, and set the group loose to make their totems. We had all kinds of animals with beaks, animals with hair, a couple of horses (zebra she said on one) a penguin and a turtle. Thanks to the person who brought the clear blueberry containers as the totems will make it home safely. Part of the Green focus at the Wells Branch Library is to integrate recyclables into our crafts projects--I think we did well this time.

If you missed the recipe for the clay, I'll share it again so that anyone who wants to make some can do that. I found it on the internet and am in love with it as you can make volumes of great colored clay for pennies!
Thanks to Susan Caplan at Suite101 for this great air dry clay.
Cooked Flour Dough
This is another play clay, although this one needs to be cooked.

· 1 cup flour
· 1 tablespoon salad oil
· 1 cup water
· ½ cup salt
· 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
· A few drops of food coloring or tempera paint until deep enough color is achieved
Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and use a wooden spoon to stir over medium heat. Stir constantly. The mixture will be soupy for several minutes and then will suddenly stick together and can be stirred into a ball. When the dough thickens, remove the pan from the heat and continue stirring. Turn the hot ball of dough onto a floured surface and knead as it cools.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pumpkin Painting @WBCL

So the pumpkins were not huge but no one seemed to care as they carefully chose just the right pumpkin and just the right colors of paint. There was a bit of a line for some parts of this process--good things sometimes take time. Parents and kids and grandparents and kids were everywhere getting into the project. Some people relied on books for ideas for their designs, others just knew what they wanted to put on the pumpkin. Quite a few incorportated the spiders into the design. Lots used the paper shred to give them hair or a base.

We used a variety of magazines from the last few years--Family Circle, Woman's Day, Country Living, All you--and 3 books I have in my stash--Pumpkin Painting by Dan McKinney, Pumpkin Decorating by Vicki Rhodes, and Haunt your house for Halloween by Cindi Fuller. I picked them up at Michaels a few years back. I think newer ones are available. The library has quite a few fall craft books and stories but most are check out. I'll have some of them out on Wednesday night.

This is the 5th year the Wells Branch Community Library has sponsored this event. In previous years the pumpkins have been sponsored by local realtors--this year we were lucky to get pumpkins reasonably at the HEB with paints donated by the Heart of Texas Tolers and Wendy Watson.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall art projects at the school

Fall brings to mind the stories of the settlement of the United States and the relationship of the settlers to the  tribes of "americans" in place. Explaining the difference between the expected "indians" and the ones the settlers found did the trick. Explaining the bonnets  the women wore was much harder.
I think they really just wanted to create the people. The paper tube project is a bit of a stretch for the 1st graders but they managed nicely, painting the faces then dressing the rolls and applying yarn hair. The tops of the hats didn't happen but faces were produced and for a 1 hour project that they did with little help--great job.

The second grade has a new task--learning to put things into size perspective as they draw. We talked about how ugly the design would be before we were done which helped a lot! Drawing with light lines will be a challenge but they are doing it--petals were a good match for the centers and a few had time to add color. We had a little time to talk about Vincent VanGogh and his sunflowers. They want to do some of Leonardo Da Vinci's work and a bit of art history about him so we will see how the drawing goes. They did a fine job on this one.

Painting Animals on Rocks @ the Wells Branch Library

Just when you think there is not a new thing to paint on--rocks appear. Actually I have this great set of books by Lin Wellford: Painting Animals on Rocks that I bought a few years ago. It calls for rather nice sized landscape rocks--nice smooth rocks--but all I had was cluncky, chunky ones and tiny smooth ones. We looked at then and got a feel for the creature within and started drawing and painting. One of them looked like a snake's face to me--not to the artist who used it. Another seemed to be a perfect beaver--she says it is a dog. Parents really got into this with their kids and by themselves--the cat at the top was done by a mom. Very detailed snakes were coiled on tiny rocks with lots of stripes--are snakes blue?
The group meets every Wednesday night at 6pm at the Wells Branch Community Library using the "storytime" room.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Foil fish in a stream at the Wells Branch Library

This turned out to be more complicated, more fun and not at all like the lesson plan I found! First we painted the wavy stream with blue tempra in 2 shades--some were wavier than others. Then we were to smudge in a little white foam on the peaks of the waves--we really got into the smuding and have lots of bubbling and boiling in our streams. It was great fun for them.

Lastly the foil fish--true to recycling we used previously used foil and cut it into fish shapes, folding over the edges and pinching in the area above the tail to make it fish-like. we were supposed to press them onto netting to get dimension but we had plenty already. We colored the foil with markers to give them a bit more realistic look and glued them onto the stream.

This worked well for all the kids from 3yrs to pre-teen. Clean up was a breeze too. This is a great program that the Wells Branch Community Library sponsors each week.
Posted by Picasa

3rd Grade paints from Picturing America

This was the last week of art work for the class on Native Americans. The kids have done medalions with geometric designs and fringed beaded edges and a clay totem. The last project was a watercolor painting of one of the Picturing America prints: George Catlin Painting the Portrait of Mah-to-toh-pa–Mandan. We had a lot of fun with trying to get clouds in the sky and keep the browns thin enough to see the figures on the drawings. One of the students decided that the trees had to have apples. We used watery tempra on card stock and it worked pretty well--spillage aside!
The print can be viewed on the Picturing America site--#6b. 
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Life cylces in Multi-media with 4th grade

We got a little out there but with great results. The students researched the life cycles of their animal then created a circular cycle on a poster. They got to choose the type of items to create the depictions--clay was a popular addition. One group chose to paint their cycle complete with glitter paints and texture. The bunny group did much more detail on the written part than the art but learned to use tracing paper to transfer their drawings.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 12, 2009

HOTT Tole Month display at Wells Branch Library

What a fantastic variety of handpainted/tole painted items the members of HOTT (Heart of Texas Tolers) are sharing with the public in this display. The top shelf is devoted to holiday items from the bunny thru many Santas and great pumpkins. Peggy really outdid herself on the paper mache as the basket even includes mini vegatables. Many of the items on display are from classes that have been offered during monthly meetings or at special seminars.
Thanks to Wendy Watson, Marie Welsch, Peggy Ashmore and Dianne Koehler for items in this year's display. When I was putting the display together on Saturday several people stopped to look and ask questions. What a great way to share our passion!The display will be in the cases for a few weeks--mid October through early November at the Wells Branch Community Library. A selection of books on painting that can be checked out is also part of the display.
The panda box on the bottom shelf is one of our Memory boxes for the North Austin hospital's berevement program. HOTT members paint and donate more than 40 boxes per year for use in the program that supplies parents who loose a newborn with a box for their memories to help with the grief.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Catching up on art in Wells Branch

It has really been a busy and productive couple of weeks for the artistic at the Wells Branch Community Library and the classes I teach at the Renaissance Academy. We have been drawing up a storm everywhere and with all ages. I learned to make an awesome claydough in colors for the school that let us make massive totems with the 3rd grade class. This followed last week when they painted and beaded native american medallions. Adults and teens drew and painted the best realistic sunflower (me too although mine is not complete) as a part of the Picturing America activities. 
Kids at the library and at the school painted and embellished an apple tree scene for Johnnie Appleseed's birthday--including the sleeping in the tree--they all had stories about what was going on in their painting. 
Next week foil fish==sounds like fun!

Friday, September 18, 2009

WBCL arts & crafts frames for Diez y seis de Septiembre

We learned a little history this week and a couple of Spanish words then made a colorful frame / art project. The group learned about Mexican independence day (diez y seis de Septiembre). We took colorful cardstock, homemade confetti, beads and tissue paper to make the frame and add flowers to the frame. Running cardstock and construction paper through the paper shreader makes great confetti and at a price we could not match!

Everyone was able to make the twisted flowers from tissue paper and a bead. But putting out tissue and beads launched them on other design elements that I hadn't planned. One of the moms used the tissue, confetti and glue to create her own design paper then cut it into shapes to put onto the frame. Several of the group thought that lots more beads would make the project into just what they envisioned. It continues to amaze me that so many different projects can come out of the same supplies. Aren't imagination and creativity wonderful!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Making glass bugs is harder than it looks @WBCL

Armed with wire, drapery rings, glass florist beads, pony beads and a variety of pliers the group last night created some pretty special looking bugs. One dad was heard explaining that his bug had only 4 legs. One of the kids made a scorpion with a golden stinger. It took a lot of adult and kid participation to get the legs wrapped and mostly the same length but sudden sighs of "oh..." were heard as each group mastered the legs and moved on to assemble the bodies, add eyes, spots and other decorations. This is definately a project that we'll do again.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Making hidden secret compartments from old books at WBCL

This week the crafters took an old book that I had already cut a compartment into the middle of. Use of a super-sharp exacto knife is just not in the program for this group! They did pick out all kinds of fabrics and make a book cover with decorations cut from more fabrics. Finishing the project required the folding of a few pages over the edges of the cuts and more gluing. I heard suggestions of keeping money or jewelery or even a diary in the secret compartment. Should be fund to see what ends up in them. Maybe I'll ask?????
Fewer participants are attending now that school is back in session so there is plenty of room to streach out in the class. I am getting a lot of donations for recycled art projects again. Good to set of the planning part of the brain.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 28, 2009

Woodsies bring out creativity at WBCL arts & crafts

Add bright colored markers, lots of little wooden shapes (some with holes and some without) and glue to bring out the creativity in everyone. We hunted down the very best shapes and gave them into a very colorful necklace to wear, a bookmark to use in their books, or just a cute shape to hold. Squeals of "elephant" were heard at one point. Many of the younger kids did great stringing their shapes on the plastic cord (of course someone had to hold on to be sure the shapes did not fall off the other end!) I have lots of the wood pieces left over so am already dreaming up projects on how to use them. If you have any ideas, let me know and I'll add them to my list.

Maybe we were a little more relaxed this week. Summer is winding down and some of the kids are now back in school so a much smaller group attended. Two of the group came wearing their custom made "art aprons." Finally no tickets were needed to get into the room.
Thanks to the Wells Branch Community Library and our wonderful donors for making this program possible for the community.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Families decorate minibags with jewels at Wells Branch Library

I am totally for this easy and popular project! I also am in love with the Dollar Store for stocking the bags and the catalog site where we got the jewels in bulk!! we were not at capacity last night but we were really close as we have been all summer. As you can see the bags are not big but the effect certainly is. The kids and parents used jewels, sequins, glitter glue and scribbles paints to decorate the bags. Two moms opted to get a ticket so they could do their own bag. Of course most of the boys bailed as this looked too much like a "girlie" project to them. The ones that stayed made the bags into something anyone would love--who could argue with a dog or a brontosaurus on the bag? I hadn't planned to put out the scribbles but the glitter glue was not enough to satisfy members of this crowd--the need pink and other colors opened our cabinet to satisfy the artists. Some learned a lesson on the squeeze paints--if you squeeze hard enough, lots comes out! I only wish I had time to do the projects with them and I imagine the same is true of my helpers.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 14, 2009

Futuristic art & mosaics at art camp

The mosaics as always were a "smash" hit! we set the broken dishes, glas beads, and tiles into a glue/plaster base on the back of a tile. Makes for a safe adhesive for kids and the back of the tile being unglazed is a great surface.
The futuristic 3D pictures got off to a slow start with each camper imagining themselves 200 years into the future, but once they got started the pictures really built up. The most elaborate included a playground complete with futuristic creatures to play on it and a home entertainment area with a swing under a foiled umbrella and a TV viewing platform with a floating chair. Another imaginative camper had a variety of wild colored futuristic caterpillers with fuzzy feelers. There was even a car with golden coils of exhaust flames curling behind it. What a great way to end the summer! Great activities for the room at the Wells Branch Library.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Painting tiles @ Wells Branch Library

What do you get when the fridge magnet is the art? We set out to make great magnets to hold the other art and notes that go onto the fridge. We used a set of 2" tiles and glass paint to create a variety of great magnets. Great thing is the paint sets totally in about a week so no baking is needed. Some of the artists did a design that spread over all 4 tiles, others did individual tiles. One was going to become a going away gift for a friend to remember her with. Our egg cartons are doing great as disposable pallettes. Now if they can only create enough stuff to hang under the magnet.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Art camp day 2 tackles recyclables WOW!

I have to say that the results from these kids were nothing short of spectacular! From a fully functional slide with a catch basin to a go cart and wirey hammer the class was not short on anything but time. We had plenty of robots with metalic hair and mustaches. It was definately lots of fun. It is hard to match their enthusiasm over the things from our recycling tub--the squeals were those generally reserved for ice cream, not a piece of styrofoam!
The rest of the day we painted--great examples of "Starry, starry night" and a good start on visors to complete the day. Lots to do in only 1/2 a day. Great activities for the room at the Wells Branch Library. Thanks to them too.
Posted by Picasa

Art Campers draw their Picasso face

What is the thing you look at most frequently and cannot figure out what it looks like?? It is your own face! The campers got to do this 2 times then add colors to it. First we drew ourselves as we remembered what we looked like--it was hard to get face shape and features--everyone wanted to look at a mirror. Then we did a second drawing looking into a mirror. Now the
dilemma was how to draw a nose or ears--how to make the hair look right--the older they were, the more cautious they got. Last we got out the colored pencils and finished the portraits in "our" colors much like ones from Andy Warhol that we looked at in our art survey at the beginning of class. Lots of the drawings really looked a bit like the students. They did a good job.
The 1/2 day art camp is held at the Wells Branch Library
Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 7, 2009

Art camp day 3 Basket weaving & fabric art

Wow! were we busy the last day of this camp. After looking at a number of basket examples we got out the fabric bins and began a 3D seascape picture. The instructions were to include a cliff, a boat, the sky and use a variety of materials on the table including shells, mosaic tiles, wood sticks, sandpaper, and fabric. Most of the campers drew a design then added their elements for some pretty great results.
Our last project proved difficult for some in the beginning but soon we had 16 woven baskets using plastic containers as a frame. I kept hearing "over and under" chanted by the kids as they mastered the technique. We found that the fluffy yarns we most wanted to use hung on everything and were the most difficult to use. The boys didn't want pink yarn on their baskets and opted for another shade of blue. At the end some of the kids embellished their baskets with a few feathers like one of the baskets we studied earlier.
I even got a group shot of some of the T-shirts we painted yesterday. The 1/2 day art camps are at the Wells Branch Community Library.
Posted by Picasa