Friday, January 30, 2009

Here fishy..fishy!!

One of my passions has always been books. To tell the truth as I get older one of my silly, sometimes worries is where the heck am I gong to keep all these books I keep collecting.

I like all kinds of books, but I am crazy for all the wonderful craft books out there. They are crammed full of good ideas I can adapt in my own art and ideas I can share with the rowdie grandkids.

There are tons of projects using old know the socks that loose their significant other and are doomed to live out their lives in a big pile of singles. I discovered another great way to use these orphans in a book I read recently, D.I.Y. Kids, by Ellen and Julia Lupton.

Just take an old sock and partially fill with sand or raw rice and tie a rubber band, string or ribbon around it. Once you have it filled it's pretty simple to draw funny faces and figures on it with permanent markers, acrylic paints or dimensional fabric paints. As always ask the grandkids to use their imagination, they may want to glue sequins, buttons or glitter on to their sock creature.

Cute, cute, cute and so easy. Let me know if you and the rowdies make one of these, I would love to post some silly sock creatures on my blog.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Unruly crafting ideas for Rowdy Grandmas.

Okay Rowdy Grandmas here are a few tips I wanted to share about craft time with the grandkids.

Kids love to wear aprons or one of grandma and grandpa's old shirts, (it's kind of like playing dress up), and keeps mom and dad paint or glue on their clothes!! Another option is to buy some old clothes from the thrift store; they can wear these while crafting...and everyone loves being allowed to do the unexpected so consider letting them paint these old clothes... and yeah...while wearing fun is that!!!

The grandkids do like to get dirty, but they also think wearing gloves is the try to keep a big box of disposable gloves from the drugstore in your crafting stash.

Another great thing to have in your stash is an old hairdryer...I don't know why exactly but my grandkids absolutely love drying their projects with a hair dryer. I guess it's the immediate gratification thing coupled with using a power appliance!!

Try not to teach perfectionism.....when Lyndsey painted her paintbrush character I had to hold myself back from saying...uhhh...don't you want to paint the eyes and the face to look more like a real person.

She is perfectly happy with her character this way...and that's cool, cause sometimes kids feel blocked in their creativity just as we do, or are afraid of making a mistake. They may ask you to do it for's tempting, but I think it is better not to is what it is.

If you make a habit of applauding them for their efforts rather than their natural abilitities you have a chance of helping them get rid of the little voice inside their heads that says this isn't good enough.
I know this voice well!!

Try to always approach your time with the rowdies with a sense of play, kids love music amd movement, so put some silly songs on while they craft their masterpieces.

A great book which is full of silly projects is The Encyclopedia of Immaturity by Klutz. I found some old tricks in this book that reminded me of my childhood, many of them have been around for ages.....but in my maturity I had forgotten about them.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Paintbrush characters

This is such a great project for old paintbrushes, the characters work best with 1/2 inch width or larger bristles.

The rowdy grandkids and I tried this project with two different types of clay. Crayola Air-Dry clay is easy to mold and comes in a big 2.5 lb. tub for about six dollars. The other product we used is Creative Paperclay, it is packaged in a 1 lb. block for about the same price as the Crayola clay. Creative Paperclay is a little more expensive, but we found it does not appear to crack when dry. The Crayola clay did crack on us. Both clays need to be worked with water, the Crayola Air-Dry clay may have cracked because we did not add enough water. If the cracks bother you try filling them with glue or possibly more clay when the characters have dried.

Supplies you need are:

Crayola Air-Dry clay or Creative Paperclay
small paintbrush
acrylic paint
spray or brush on clear coat

1. Grab a chunk of clay and moisten slightly
with water til pliable.
2. Decide whether you want a profile character or full face character.
3. Mold the clay around the paintbrush, leaving the bristles for hair.

4. Shape small amounts of clay for eyes, ears, nose, mouth or even cheekbones or warts.

5. Apply the face parts to the main face surface and blend using a small, wet paintbrush. (You may also use the blunt end of the small paintbrush to adhere the face parts).
6. When the rowdies are happy with the character they have created it is a good idea to have them use a moistened finger to go over the face to further smooth the surfaces together.
7. Let dry (preferably overnight) and paint. Styrofoam makes a good base for drying.

8. Have fun coming up with cool names for your paintbrush guys and gals!!

For very young kids, 3 to 6 years, an easy alternative to shaping face parts from clay is to use buttons, yarn, toothpicks or anything else you can come up with for the eyes, ears, mouth and nose. They may also use their little fingers to poke holes in the face for the eyes and mouth.

These paintbrush characters are Taylor and Lauryn's, they love using my spray paint, so they painted their bristles with gold spray paint before applying the face. Lauryn used jumprings to give Charley
earrings!! Taylor gave Bob a very red tongue.

Remember Rowdy Grandmas to encourage them to use their imagination, they may decide to make something other than a person...Dylan made one of his paintbrushes into a fish. He used toothpicks to support the fins and tail while it dries, and plans on painting it next time he comes to visit.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Blurring the lines between art and craft!!

In the art and craft community there is an ongoing debate about what is art and what is craft. I have had my share of these debates. I , along with many other "crartists", would like to have a simple answer. There isn't one, I give up!! This is one of those questions ROWDY GRANDMA does not have an answer for.

Amazingly, in delving into art with my grandkids I discovered the first forms of art/craft children create is folk art. They usually begin with simple materials and shapes, and often pick up the strangest things to create with. Some of our best loved folk artists began this way.

I recently ordered a book from Amazon (I love searching Amazon). The book is American Folk Art for Kids, by Richard Panchyk. One of my favorite artists in the book is Mr. Imagination, he works with all kinds of recycled materials. His old, worn out paintbrush turned into a person is fabulous!! Well, when I saw this the grandkids and I got to work on our own paintbrush characters.

I will share some of these with you in the coming week...oh yeah, and also some of the things that work and some that don't. Here is my experimental paintbrush character......let's call him Hawkeye Mo!!.....ain't he pretty.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Folk art and popsicle sticks!!!

Have you seen some of the cool stuff made with popsicle sticks? A big box of them is a good way to get the creativity flowing with the rowdy grandkids. You can buy a box at any craft store for five or six dollars.

Popsicle sticks and glue are the basic ingredients, you can also throw in some acrylic paint, beads and fabric scraps to liven it up a bit. White school glue works for some projects, but a glue gun is immediate gratification...and kids are into immediate gratification.

Every one of my grandkids have made stuff with popsicle sticks; from boats and tents to collage pictures. When they are very small, 3 to 6 years, I help them with the glue gun and brainstorm with them for ideas on what to build. By the time they are older I hope I have instilled in them a sense of "what would happen if", and let them experiment to their hearts content. If it works ..great!!!.....if not then try another way.

If you ask me popsicle stick art is a form of folk art and once the kids starting having fun with them I ordered a fabulous lamp from Ebay so they could see how intricate their structures could become. I love this lamp!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

How to make a snake from Grandpa's old tie

My four grandkids from Arkansas visited us over the holidays. They all have their favorite projects to work on in the studio. Sarah loves, loves, loves to embroider, sew and crochet. Last time she visited she made a belt from one of grandpa's old ties...and boy does he have some funky old ties. This time she did another cool thing with an old tie, she made a snake. She does a lot of crafting and had seen someone make one. When she saw the idea she knew she had to do this with me 'cause ever since she has been around I have had snakes and she loves 'em.

Right now the only snake I have is a 9 ft. Red Tail Boa named Diana, at one time I had four, seems when people find out you like snakes they want to give you theirs, which have usually been housed in a little aquarium for a year or two. So guess you could say I adopt snakes. By the way Diana has spacious quarters, and is taken for a walk quite often.

This project is a great way to recycle grandpa's or dad's old ties and it is very simple.

All you need is stuffing material, we used polyester fiberfill ( same thing you use to stuff a pillow) could also try wads of old material, plastic bags or even sand.
I happen to have quite a collection of google eyes, you can get both the google eyes and the polyester fiberfill at any craft store, the eyes may also be painted on or sew on some button eyes.
For the forked tongue we used two different colors of felt which can be glued or sewn on .
Sarah also decided some silver net material I had was perfect for the tail of her snake so she used safety pins to attach it. She also cut some of the length off of her snake because she got tired of stuffing the darn thing. Smart kid!!!!

It never ceases to amaze me how creative kids can be. I mentioned brainstorming in an earlier post, but I would really like to stress how important I feel that is, not only do the kids feel good about themselves because they have such great ideas but it gives you, Rowdy Grandma, a little insight into how their little minds work.....fascinating!!