"How wild it was to let it be."
- Cheryl Strayed
A couple of years ago I stopped drinking coffee. It was a sad day. I LOVE COFFEE. It has always been one of my favorite flavors. When I was a little girl my birthday cakes were filled with mocha frosting and my favorite ice cream flavor was coffee. So saying goodbye to my dear friend Joe was hard. I didn't want to. I did it because I started to notice a connection between my mood and my coffee consumption. When the coffee was going in I felt great, upbeat, cheerful, ready to seize the day with gusto. But that upswing was inevitably followed by low-grade anxiety that turned into irritability, and next thing you know I am living in Grump Town, USA, Population: 1. What the heck does this sad story have to do with jungle cats? Well, I started drinking coffee again. I can't tell you how it happened exactly...one day I swapped decaf for a half caff and the next thing you know I am back to full caff and I am drinking multiple cups a day and it tastes so good and I then I find a really delicious organic cold brew that comes in a pretty glass bottle that pairs so nicely with my creamy almond milk.....and I don't want to even type what I am about to type...I'm grumpy...again. So today is day 1 without coffee. I am not happy but I am doing it because being anxious and irritable isn't worth it in my book. Being a self-aware grown up sucks sometimes. For today, this is my truth. I am going to get wild and just let it be. I am woman (without coffee). Hear me roar.
About the cats--I did this project yesterday in my K-6 classes and they loved it!
1. Cut your jungle leaves out of strips of colored tissue paper. 2. Cut tiger stripes and/or leopard dots out of your foam paper and mount it to wood blocks or cardboard squares with double-sided sticky tape or glue. 3. Print your stripes on a sheet of thick white paper. 4. Once you create your striped pattern you can add color to the remaining white spaces with watercolor, tempera sticks, or colored markers. 5. Cut out your jungle cat shape. 6. Add eyes, nose, muzzle, and whisker details. 7. Mount your cut out cat shape to a clean sheet of paper. You can use colored pieces of paper for the background or use white paper that has been colored with chalk pastel. We used chalk pastel, rubbed in with a cotton ball to achieve a soft-hued glow. 8. Glue on your tissue paper jungle leaves.
"Do not resist chances. Take them like vitamins."
You know what I love most about teaching little ones? They take chances. LOTS of them. Last week in the art room I had a kindergartner (a lil lad I met only two weeks prior) who told me he was the "greatest beat boxer of all time" (if you aren't familiar with the art of beat boxing check out this video). In the first 2 minutes of class my friend decided to change his name to "CJ" and asked if I could announce him as he walked in the classroom (for the second time). He then went on to tell me that he had been to the sun (twice) without getting burned because he "has special skin". "CJ" spent 15 minutes on our project of the day and the rest of his class time creating spyware trackers and black hole finders out of construction paper and glue. His out-of-this-world-imagination-play was contagious and before you knew it, I was talking in an English brogue and telling the tale of my maiden voyage to Antarctica on the SS Silver Spur. These little people keep my creativity limber!
This 3-D bug project was a huge hit with the K-6 crowd. We added hearts to ours and called them love bugs ('Tis the season) but this project could be done year round, with or without the hearts. Enjoy!
1. Cut your bug body shape out of recycled cardboard (the cardboard here was printed with bubble wrap) or card stock. If you are doing these with really little ones you can pre-cut the bug shapes or have them draw their body and assist them with cutting them out. 2. Add hearts, eyes, and geometric details with hot glue or large glue dots. 3. Create your antennae out of coated bendy wire. 4. Cut your wings. 5. Add a layer of transparent wings to your bug. 6. Cut a 1/4 slice from your TP roll and then cut that in half. You will attach these to your bug's belly with hot glue so that your bug can stand. 7. While your bug is laying on its back you can attach front, mid, and hind legs with hot glue. 8. Turn your bug over and add finishing touches!
Here is an example of different options for wing placement:
1. Over. 2. Under. 3. Layered on top.
"HEARTS ARE WILD CREATURES, THAT'S WHY OUR RIBS ARE CAGES."
Today's post is brought to you by pink burnout. Maybe it was the flock of flamingos that did it? Before I forget: Did you know that a flock of Flamingos is called a flamboyance (thanks Shannon)? Maybe it's that I have been in V-day arts and crafts mode for the past 30 days? All I know is that the wild creature that lives in my rib cage was all, "Nope. No pink, no way, no how. Not today, sucker." So we made a deal...there would be hearts but they would be of the black and white variety. These plush gals are inspired by the iconic black line drawings of Señor Picasso and Monsieur Matisse.
1. Create a heart template out of cardboard and trace it or freehand your heart shape directly onto your pillow fabric. Fold your fabric in half so you get two identical heart shapes when you cut them out. 2. Use a light colored fabric pen or Sharpie to sketch out your facial features on your black felt. 3. Cut out your black felt face shapes with a good pair of fabric shears. 4. Glue your felt pieces onto your white heart shape with felt glue, fabric glue, or a hot glue gun. 4. Hot glue the edges of your heart shapes together, creating a sealed pocket, and start filling it with your fiber fill, closing up your seam and stuffing as you go.
in the wind,
in the night,
in the earth,
and that's why
the mud and
- Pablo Neruda
Sometimes my creative mind is a playful kitten. A kitten who likes to play with words and unexpected imagery. I knew I wanted to do a love bird card this year but I didn't know it was going to take me to the tropics. I literally woke up one morning a couple weeks ago and said "FLAMINGOS!" Picture a disheveled, puffy-eyed me sitting up in bed with a huge kitten grin and a lightbulb emoji over my head. It happened yesterday. 40 hand-drawn, cut, glued, and lettered flamingo cards happened. Guys, I am tired. But look...
1. Collect your paper palette. You could hand paint your flamingo paper but I chose to pick some sheets out of my pink and coral scrapbook paper stash. 2. Sketch out a simplified flamingo shape. Make the arch of the necks look like two sides of one heart. 3. Trace your template on your colored paper. 4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for your little heart wings and your palm fronds. 5. Glue your flamingos onto your card stock. 6. Add your heart wings. 7. Add your palm frond. 8. Take a bright pink jelly pen and add your love note inside. 9. Draw a white heart shape on your flamingos' faces with a white paint pen or a white chalk marker. 10. Add black to the beak with a Sharpie. 11. Take a fine point black pen and add a simple eye shape. 12. You could add some details to your flamingo with pink and peach jelly pens or leave your peachy bird as is.
"Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure."
Paolo Coelho, The Alchemist
If you have been following along since the beginning of this blog you might remember that I am a big city girl (born in NYC and raised in LA) who dreams of the country. I want a white farmhouse with a big old barn that I will convert into a giant art space. There will be tons of natural light and plenty of room to paint, print, build, throw (pottery), and shoot (photos). I will have a pasture with horses, chickens, a couple of goats, two dogs, three barn cats, and a cow. I have envisioned this place since I was a little girl. The picture is so clear to me that it doesn't feel like an "if" only a "when". Do you want to take a peek?
Last February I landed an interior design job that took me pretty darn close to living my dream. I got to spend a week in a small farm town 45 minutes NW of Portland, OR decorating and designing the interior of a farmhouse. I found a piece of my heart in that magical emerald green town and collected many a treasure. I didn't end up using any antique heart in hand paper cuts in my design but I pinned a bunch of them to use at a later date.
"Heart In Hand" is a traditional folk art motif, associated with the Shakers, the Amish, and the Pennsylvania Dutch. The imagery is said to represent friendship, love, and truth. The process is known as Scherenschnitte which means “paper cut” in German. The art form was developed in Germany and Switzerland in the 16th century and brought to America in the 18th century, primarily by settlers in Pennsylvania. Aren't they beautiful? I am going to show you how to make this lovely traditional folk art piece with an ART CAMP twist.
- colored paper
- glue stick
1. Gather your paper palette. 2. Sketch out your hand shape (think glove) on a piece of card stock. 3. Cut out your hand. 4. Create a template so you can repeat the pattern on your assorted colored paper, cutting out as you go. 6. There are a couple ways to approach the design. If you want to go traditional you will create slits in your hand so that you can weave paper through your heart and at the wrist. 7. If you want to go more modern, you can just cut out shapes and collage. There is no wrong or right way. Play with layout and color before you commit with glue. 8. Think about adding a love note or a monogram. 9. You can make these note card style or a folded greeting card (see pictures below)
When the winds of change blow, some people build walls and others build windmills.
- Chinese proverb
This Saturday is Chinese New Year so we will be celebrating the lunar new year in the art room this week. In Chinese Astrology, each zodiac year is associate with an animal sign and one of the five elements: gold (metal), wood, water, fire, or earth. 2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster. My oldest daughter is a rooster so she has been proclaiming that "this is her year". I haven't had the heart to tell her that the Chinese believe that the year of one's birth sign is the most unlucky year in the 12-year cycle.
This year I am veering slightly from the traditional Chinese New Year projects that I have done in the past (think dragons, drums, lanterns, scrolls) and bringing you a fun, modern collage. I am not including my usual step-by-step because it is not that kind of project. It is all about the process of digging through scraps, tearing, piecing shapes together, and using texture and color in unusual ways...F U N !
- collage piles--scrapbook paper, painted paper remnants, magazine bits, painted cardboard pieces, newsprint
- glue stick
- scissors (I would encourage you to tear more than you snip)
- rooster examples--print out some different rooster images so that you get a feel for all of the different shapes that make up the bird (If you search rooster illustrations you will find a huge variety to pull from)
- bristol paper, mixed media paper, or card stock (You want a thick, firm base to glue onto)