Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving turkeys and pilgrims

This time of year is so much fun to find things to make to decorate the tables with. We saved up our fat bottles from lemonade for a second go at turkeys and had enough leftover supplies to make it a total recycle project even the styrofoam balls for heads. 

This week we pulled out a bag of TP tubes and leftover construction paper and linen writing paper to create pilgrims to decorate our Thanksgiving tables, except the kids decided the pilgrims were puppets and added sticks to them from the glue pots. Nothing goes to waste with this group. I precut some of the paper and taught them how to make the circle hat brims for the guys. These are pretty detailed and had great faces on them. Lots of parental help on some of these but that makes it so much more fun. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

making sunset silhouettes @WBCL

Silhouettes are great concepts for art but hard for little kids to gasp. Doing personal silhouettes with this group is also a bit more involved than I can do in a short class. Kids do get shadows though and went for it. We drew several designs on a 1/4 page of black construction paper. My example was a barn, person, fence and tree but they could do what they wanted and they did.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Creating projects with beads and altoids tins @WBCL

I have such a stash of beads and people give me more plus I have been known to buy a bag here and there like the beautiful gold ones from Oriental Trading that doing a project with them is always a creative surprise. The kids and adults are told at the beginning that these are what ever has been thrown into the bag left from other projects so who knows what is there. I gave the tins a quick coat of flat paint then put out beads in bowls and plastic lids of Aleene's tacky glue. There was some trading between tables to get a specific bead here and there too. The results are really nice and it is easy for kids of any age to do this with help from an adult--some of whom did their own boxes.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Making sharks & whales @WBCL

Sharks and whales are certainly popular with the younger set! I got a donation of many 100s of small styrofoam cups so they were great to use for making this project. I glued 2 together and cut egg cartons up into strips so they could make fins and tales. the ends are easy to pierce with scissors to insert the tail and make teeth. a bit of gray paint and we were there. We had magazines that my helper Jolanda brought for inspiration too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Making a mosaic tile @ WBCL

This is one of the best mosaic projects I have had the kids do. It involved making a design on the back of a tile using tile adhesive then filling the surrounding space with pebbles to make the design stand out. The kids quickly figured out what tiles would make their design and then picked out the stones that would make it look best. Lots of parents with fingers in this one too. Even the youngest kids got a good tile done.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Stars & stripes or Patriotic fun mini-camp @ WB Annex

Finally a week where the 4th doesn't fall in the middle of the week so we grabbed it and did a camp. We started the week with a drawing session of a flagged street scene in the Picturing America series by Childe Hassam, an impressionist. The main feature of the week was construction of the 3 small floats from start to finish - one of Uncle Sam and one of Lady Liberty. Along the way we made flags, confetti eggs, tp poppers and long wands with stars. We capped the week off marching in the parade in Wells Branch.

Batman collages @ WBCL

In honor of the 75th anniversary of Batman comics we did a project that mimicked a theatre marque poster. The kids covered the paper with strips of comics then cut out a batman mask and mounted it over a spotlight strip complete with bubble and bat. Some of the kids were quite meticulous in selecting background pictures and cut around each frame to choose exactly what went on the background.

Draw a tiger @ WBCL

we again used the grid drawing method and the tigers were fantastic. the kids then colored them with pencils.

Monday, July 14, 2014

ART ENRICHMENT MINI-CAMPS AT THE ANNEX have a few spaces remaining this summer


Junior artists (age 7 1/2-12)  12-3:30 pm T/W/Th  Learn a bit of history and do the projects in depth. Each camp is $40. Registration is at the MUD rec center. More information on MUD website or:  40% of fee is dedicated to programs in WB. Limit 26 

7/22-24 Make it by hand--Mosaics, weaving, sewing/quilting, &  paper mache-
We will be making a Princess mononoke mask from paper mache and trim it out, do several weaving projects including a dream catcher, paint and embellish gourds, and create a couple of awesome bags with critters on them, Potter-ish items and more. 

7/29-7/31 Food Art from color to style (9 am-12:30) Not for kids with allergies  We'll create artist designs from food items. We will reverse collage  the plates, make bird sandwiches, decorated mini-cakes, make sherbet in a bag. We will make fruit pizzas and have a watermelon decorating contest. we may eat our creations for lunch.  

8/5-7 Sharks and creatures of the deep Painting and drawing III --We will celebrate  the deep blue sea painting and drawing sharks, whales, jellyfish, reefs, and sailing ships. We will learn about the old time divers and do something with the Jules Verne theme,

Beginning Artist Sessions (age 4 1/2-7 going into Kinder/ 1st grade) 9-11:30am T/W/Th  Limit 16 We will read books/ tell stories and use them as the basis for our projects. We'll learn a bit about how art happens and what the kids like to do as they  complete the projects. 

8/5-7 Sharks and creatures of the deep--we'll explore the deep creating a 3D aquarium, octopus, shark and lots more. we'll learn about coral & make some of our own.

Friday, June 27, 2014

3D camp with lots of media @ the WB Annex

I have to say that our project today is probably one of the best we have done at camp. we really took the time to get every detail on every one of them exactly the way we wanted them. then we spent time painting a mountain on really big newsprint paper. Just fun to do and a lot more painting than anyone ever expects.

we tried lots of things today with a focus on 3D and textures. We made a multi-layered object then marbled it with shaving cream paint. we liked it so much we did cards too. We made a butterfly with foil wings and a beaded body then gave the wings a coat of shiny paints. we used the marbling paint on coffee filters then made bowls and vases out of them and last we shredded a lot of crayons and made melted wax pictures. Thanks Kat Sands for teaching a lot of the sessions this week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

All about clay recipes

so many asked what the recipes were for the clays we used at camp this week and at the library program in addition to the polymer clay and fireable clays. I found all the recipes on the internet and am thankful for the thrifty moms who post.

No Cook Salt Dough Recipe

2 cups white flour 
1 cup salt 
1 cup water
1 tablespoon lemon juice  this makes it dry harder)
1 tablespoon oil ( this makes the dough easier to work with)

1. Mix the flour and salt very well in a medium sized bowl.
2. Add half a cup of water, and the oil and lemon juice if using. Mix well.
3. Gradually add more water, bit by bit, until you get a workable, non sticky dough.
4. Shape to your heart's content. I had the kids make whatever their heart desired, while I made beads and buttons to use for a future activity. Lee made a "choo choo train", while Ike made... who knows? A sun? An octopus? A pile of mush? He kept on changing his mind.
5. If, while shaping, the dough starts getting a little too dry, add a sprinkle of water (but just a sprinkle!) and mix it in to the dough.
6. Let your salt dough dry for 3-4 days, turning over every 24 hours to help it dry faster. If you want it ready quicker, stick it in the oven on a low temperature for an hour or two.
7. When dry, paint as desired.bowls, salt, flour, water, wooden spoons,  

Cornstarch salt clay
3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup salt
1/2-1 cup water
1 tsp oil
powdered tempera paint

1. Mix all dry ingredients in bowl with spoon or fork.
2. Make a well in the center, add oil, and begin to add water until the clay starts to form a ball.
3. Turn onto surface and kneed until smooth. 
4. put into sealed bag if not using right away. If it seems to damp add a bit of cornstarch, if too dry a spritz of water.

Homemade Polymer Clay
  • 3/4 cup white glue
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons mineral oil (I used baby oil but reportedly even vaseline will work)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Non-stick pot
  • Wooden spoon
Add cornstarch to glue in a nonstick pot. Mix together and then add mineral oil and lemon juice. Blend well.

Cook over low flame stirring pretty much constantly (you can take a quick break or two if your arm gets tired, which it will) until the mixture resembles mashed potatoes.

Remove from heat! Squirt a little additional mineral oil around the top of your mashed potato mass and with your hands, remove it from the pot. Knead until smooth. It's best to do this while it's still as hot as you can handle.

Pull off a bit to work with and put the rest in a re-sealable plastic bag with the top about half-way open until it's cooled down a bit. Then seal the bag (with as little air in it as you can) and store in the fridge.

Let dry about 2-3 days, then paint, or not.
- See more at:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Painting and drawing birds at the WB Annex mini-art camp

It was a fantastic first day of art camp! We are using a grid drawing method this year and it is really paying off in helping with shape and proportion on a more difficult theme--birds. We talked about local birds naming the ones that we were familiar with and the ones we had seen. kids are willing to try anything and we did.
We hit on some bird facts: hawks fly 120 mph when diving. The younger kids read a couple of books and created all kinds of owl projects in the morning. the older kids learned quilling and created an owl on an index card. Once they got the hang of it many added branches and other details. Lots of broken sticks for some of them. The final project was a watercolor of the teal winged duck supplied by our local birding group. Not everyone liked my streaky feathers and many smoothed theirs then added water and sky to them. They all got the beautiful teal and blue wing in.

Day 2 was more painting--painted birdhouses and the teal wing water color for the beginners, a hummingbird for the Jr group. The younger group created an edible nest with eggs (way too sweet we decided) and little pompom birds for their birdhouses. The older group  investigated peacocks and the did a pastel drawing on black background of a peacock. They decided it looked far better on black than the one I did with another group on white paper. They also got

to make their dodo birds or a bird of a different sort.

Resource books for the week from WBCL:
 Baby Bird's first nest
 The book of North American owls
 Eyewitness Books: Eagle & birds of prey
 Meet the peacock
 Thunder birds: nature's flying predators
 Duckling days
 Fine feathered friends
 Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!
 If I never forever endeavor
 Feathers and fools
 Fly by night

Photos at: drawing birds 14 Jr day 1  & drawing birds 14 beginners day 1

Painting drawing birds JR day 2  painting drawing birds beg day 2

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Painted peacocks from real pictures @WBCL

We were so fortunate to have real pictures taken by local photographer Rob White to use as a reference for our painting of a peacock. First we drew the bottle shaped body and painted it with blue metallics. Then the fun began. I asked them to use their fingers to dab in the "eyes" on the feathers so they could paint the detail. Only had one objection so he did his with a brush. we put on plenty of eyes then detailed them, lastly connecting them to the body and adding the crown to the bird. We will be doing one of these at #art camp next week.

Squashed paper flags for Memorial day @WBCL

I keep trying to do something a little different to stretch the kids' (and parents) imaginations and skills while using the wonderful donated materials I continue to receive. For this project we used an A5 envelope and red & blue streamers. First they drew the American flag--yes it has 13 stripes and a square on the LEFT. they tore the streamers into pieces about 1 1/2" long and made piles of paper wads. They then dabbed on glue and squashed the paper wads into place. They were supposed to leave spaces in the blue are to represent stars--that was hard for some of them as they just would rather have had white to squash up. In all though it was a great time doing this one.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Creating pots @WBCL

OK so you get a pot and it has a sticky tag on it--no big get 20 of them and it is a pain so planning an alternate project turned out better than the original and involved a lot more design work on the part of the participants. I took some fabric from my stash that had small squares of sunflowers, trees, lambs, chickens, cows, beehives, apples, and more and cut them into the squares. We decoupaged them onto the pots with Aleene's glue learning the "glue goes under then over" process. The kids then added buttons and did a bit of finish with outdoor scribble paint. Anyone would love to use these distinctive pots!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Create your own thing from recycled materials @WBCL

I never know what will appear on my doorstep to use in this class or what will strike the kids imagination but with several bags of goodies and a bit of glue we began. Milk cartons and spools were like gold tonight. Upper right corner--a cow complete with udders. there were games, a cart that rolled, a bird feeder, a pond with a waterfall and so many more cute ideas. I ask "who brought their imagination tonight?" and all hands went up. I think they are right.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Creating critters from paper egg cartons @WBCL

We started off our month of recycled projects with an egg carton project making bunnies and chicks. I did cut and preprint the cartons so the kids could just create instead of dealing with paint at the class. Some of the chicks are in eggs, some of the bunnies have egg carton ears and some don't. Fun to do this one.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Creating art from rolled paper @WBCL

This  is a project I did at school last year and once you get the kids going making paper rolls they can see all kinds of possibilities. I cut up pages of ads and magazines so we had lots of bright colored material to work with. I suggested that the rolls bend or can be lined up to make frames and let them create.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Drawing and Painting trees @ WBCL

It is always a gamble to try to get kids to paint trees. You mostly have very thick trunks with what looks like a hand coming out the top and pompom tops. This was a "Paint with Me" project so the kids could follow along and achieve a more or less tree-ish tree. We got better pompoms but a good distribution. a few kids added squirrels and birds and knots on the tress. Super fun project.

Making kites @WBCL

Tonight we learned a bit about kites and then made and decorated one complete with tails. Some of the tails got quite long. I did discuss with the kids that this kite probably would not fly but they could put braces in it at home and try running it. Lots of plans going on there.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Using pastels to create a mountain at sunset @WBCL

Chalk pastels are so much fun to use and SOOO messy but the results are always worth it. We first did a pencil outline of our mountain then worked on our sky and sunset so as not to muddy the sky. once the sky was to our liking we went on to make the mountain with textures and streams, grass, etc. Love how beautiful but varied they are.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Colors across Texas day 2 art mini-camp

 We had so much fun and made such a MESS! We started looking at beaches and talking about them then each camper designed a beach scene on a 4" pot. They tried out snow-tex and all kinds of paint spreading and applying. Every pot was so different. 

We next kept to the beaches theme and drew and painted a sea shell on a small tote bag. They had small shells to hold and draw onto the bag then paint. The kids really got into the texture so it got on these too. 

Our last project was the bat bridge at sunset with chalk pastels. We drew our bridges and then layer out the way we wanted the sunset to look. Some of the campers got so involved with the pastels that the skies are surreal and the kids had as much chalk on them as the paper.  We spent a few minutes gluing our drawing of the Texas windmill we did yesterday. I am tired so they must be too.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Colors across Texas day 1 art mini-camp

We learned a bit about west Texas today and drew Monument rock to paint with thick acrylics. We used some texture paint and the kids learned to pounce in the background rocks using several colors randomly. They used pallet knives to paint the rock itself and the foreground sandy area. Some made theirs darker and some lighter but all were really good.
We also drew a cluster of cactus on watercolor paper to paint. The boys didn't want flowers on theirs but I think they put on the buds. I think most kids are not used to painting with water first then putting in the watery paints but have the "oh wow" reaction when they can see the paints move and mix. This one also turned out really good.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Making a Texas Star quilt square @WBCL

Quilting is all but a lost art for kids but a great way to discuss history for Texas's birthday and be creative too. I precut triangles before class and brought extra fabric for filler and examples of Texas Star quilts. This one is kind of a spinning star. I had the kids position the triangles first then glue them to a paper backing. They then selected other fabric in squares or triangles to fill the page. Some did borders too. Fun and easy way to get into this and I got tips from a mom who quilts when I flipped one of my triangles and got all tangled. We will try on sewing a square this summer I think.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Making a Valentine's Day basket at WBCL

I was given a sack full of Valentine's Day cards last spring break and wrestled with how to best use them in a project for this class. We have made and decorated Valentines cards several times out of a variety of materials and I know we could've done that again. Instead we chose to tear the cards in half separating the back from the front and converting the back into a basket by folding its edges of up and in and stapling it together. We used fun foam hearts for the ends and decorated them with artwork from the cards. Lastly we punched holes in the hearts and used a pipe cleaner to form the handle. This project took on a lot of participation from the parents and everyone seemed to be having a good time with it.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Blue horse collage for Chinese New Year

I was excited to see a few months ago that Eric Carle had a book about a blue horse and it was recommended as a resource for Chinese New Year. Luckily one of the parents has a copy of the book and was able to bring it for the class. Before class I did a drawing of the horse based on his book and ran off copies for the participants. I had them cut out the horse and then use several different colors of blue tissue paper to make a collage on the horse. The example had a different colored saddle blanket and we were able to find some striped tissue paper to use for the blanket. Some of them were able to make a 3-D mane and tail and others chose to keep their's flat. Lastly we mounted it on red construction paper as most of the examples I've seen use red for celebrations.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Drawing and painting winter birds @WBCL

This was a draw along with me lesson (see drawing above) which worked very well last night. I get some fairly young kids in the class and have been doing more draw/paint sessions of late. They love it and they are pretty good at it. The parents do help with the drawings as needed but the kids hold their own. We also had colored reference pictures to consult when we painted the birds. I chose cardinals and jays because they have similar shapes but dramatically different colors. we even did a bit of color mixing and added a few details like sky or branches to them.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

I have a dream hands project @ WBCL

We started out with a bit of a history lesson about who Martin Luther King was and then I read part of his speech to the kids. I had made up a sample with the circle in the middle, printing I have a dream, three faces to color, and then a few of the colored hands in a circle around The edges. Some of the kids got very very detailed in their drawings and their colorings. We were fortunate to have a donation of people colored crayon to use for this project.

Drawing and Painting winter trees @ WBCL

Winter trees are always interesting to draw and paint. This is a project where I get the kids to follow along with me and then they embellish it on their own. We have many shrubs in our neighborhood that are covered with red berries in the winter time. We used a limited number of colors of paint for this and I had the kids draw the trees first then shade along the edge of the side of the tree and the branches and go back and paint them with the  lighter shade of brown add some leaves and then use the back end of the paintbrush to add the red berries.

Making jewelry takes a bit of beads and more

We have been planning this jewelry making session since late summer. It is always fun to take a lot of jewelry findings, beads, sequins, and other items and give them to the kids so they can create some wearable items. I had intended to use more of the pole tops for rings but was unable to locate them in time for the session. Instead we took buttons and one half of a pipe cleaner with some beads and created what we thought was even a better project.

Penguins and Polar bears

This was a super fun project for most of the kids and their parents. We started with large dark colored medication bottles as the basis for our penguins we drew on white foam to make the face and the tummy and cut them out and glued them on. We added beaks and eyes and all the other features some of the kids added hats scarves and a couple even have mittens.
We went on to do the polar bears for the polar bears I brought a large bag of stuffing and have the kids add that onto tubes. Some of them are very elaborate and summer quite simple.

December crafts candles and luminaries

We did two different projects this month focusing on candles. The first one we used spools tissue paper ribbons and Felt snowflake cutouts to create our own candles. We talked about how many cultures celebrate the winter holidays using candles and other kinds of lights.

We used crystal light containers to create luminaries that would be able to use battery-operated candle lights. I had the kids gluon torn pieces of tissue paper all over the outside of the plastic containers. We then took them outside and inserted the candle lights in them to test them out. Looks like real stained-glass.

Ornament making sessions get at the creativity

Our annual Christmas ornament making sessions were again a smash hit. We made a variety of ornaments both things that were very old-fashioned and very modern. Everyone had such a great time making just what they wanted to take home and put on their tree.