Friday, February 26, 2010

Flag Collage

In art class today, we continued with collage. We looked at two American artists who have done famous flag artpieces, Faith Ringgold and Jasper Johns. The kids dived right in. It was a lively mess.
You need:
old magazines
glue sticks or glue bottles
Before class, I had torn out magazine pages with red and blue blocks of color on them. I also punched out some white paper flowers to be used for stars. (We thought that white letters might work for the stars too, but no one tried it.) I had made up tagboard (cut into quarters) templates for the kids to glue on. Be sure the kids are filling in with the correct colors in the correct places. We had one with the blue field on the wrong side, and we had two with red and blue stripes. This is an opportunity to teach them to re-think and save their project. The ones with the blue and red stripes were going to fill the "blue" field in with white, and use blue stars on it.
I encouraged the kids to use larger swatches of color with small scale text and images. Sometimes they will only use tiny pieces of pure color, which slows things down and stifles the loose creativity of collage. Also, I instructed them to turn type upside down or sideways so they are not so easily read, and so avoid an unwanted focal point.

Commercial Doctor

The beautiful "actress" in this magazine (and correlating TV ads) is our own talented niece who really is an eye doctor. She was chosen from a bunch of real eye doctors, and spent a week filming and photographing for this last year. It's always a "kick" to see her on TV or in print ads.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Daughter L. caught some images of her cousins snomoboarding. It is an extremely localized sport. It is my understanding that Cousin Brittney (blue) gets the best air, and Cousin Spencer (brown) has the best tricks. Reminds me of when their fathers were young and would pull sleds and toboggans behind tractors and later four wheelers. Extreme sports in the midwest.

It Doesn't Get Any Better Than This

From my facebook yesterday:

Lovely massage play day with three friends and their kids. Moms had massages, kids played. Chocolate desserts, glasses of milk and tea. Talk, school prep and planning. Great day!

L. M. -and why was I not invited?
P. F.-Wow, now THAT'S what I call homeschooling!!

Me-Ultimate homeschooling-anyone in the greatest homeschooling co-op on earth can indulge. It's all in the attitude (and planning!)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Valentine's Banquet

The theme was "You're blooming lovely," at our men's annual Valentine's banquet for the women of our church. They prepared and served us appetizers, prime rib, baked potatoes, green beans and cream puffs. I made these flower favors with Sculpey clay.
Some of our men having supper after serving the women. Someone figure out they have been doing this party annually for about 30 years now. Seems impossible it could be that long!
The beautiful piano and vocal program afterward was by our talented niece Kristi. Husband was master of ceremonies and was so proud of her. Here she is with Husband and Grandma.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Valentine Cards

I made these cards last year for my girlfriends. They were simple, cheap and fun. I used patterned paper, and scrap cardstock. I cut a couple of coordinating felt hearts out, stacked them and machine sewed through them and the paper and cardstock. (See back view.) Then I sewed a button or two on top of the hearts by hand. A few holes punched in the top edge and a thin ribbon strung and tied in a bow finished the project. Fun!

Stained Glass Watercolor

Daughter L.'s Jr. High art class designed and painted these stained glass pictures today at co-op. They were done on tracing paper. Hers is the green, orange, and blue one with droplets.

Earthy Collage

Today we explored collage in my homeschool co-op art classes. Collage is a French word for "to glue" and is an assemblage of different forms to make a whole. It has been used since paper was invented in China, but was not called collage until Picasso and Braque coined the phrase in the modern art era.

Today's project was inspired by a gift card. I enjoy the clever designs on gift cards, and always look at them when going through a checkout. They are tiny, creative artworks. My inspiration was this Toys R Us Earth giftcard.

Earth Collage

You need:
Glue sticks
shapes punches
old magazines
tagboard or other stiff paper

I ran off a simple line drawing of a globe from the internet, and drew it larger with a simplified continental outline. I used tagboard cut into approximately 9 1/2" x 11" size (6 per board) and traced the globe/map outline on each tagboard ahead of class. To transfer, I "colored" on the back of the pattern page wherever the outlines were, then flipped the pattern, held it on the tagboard and firmly traced it, leaving a faint outline behind. I found I could do about three copies before re-coloring (leading) the back of the pattern sheet again.

Before class, I used shaped punches to punch out magazine pages in blues and greens. I punched (LOTS of) each color into their own bowl. I found that smaller, smooth designs were good, and a larger design could be useful for larger areas. Smaller designs are necessary to fill in small areas. I originally tried to find stickers, but could not find enough of one size in one color. The punches I used were flowers that made three sizes.

When the kids came to class, I talked about collage, and showed some examples from famous artists (Picasso, Matisse), history (Japanese poetry, Christian icons), and contemporary childrens book artists (Eric Carle, Lois Ehlert, Denise Fleming.) Then the kids each glue stick-ed small areas at a time and filled in the land and sea spaces in the appropriate colors. They were to fill but not overlap much with the punched shapes. (Be sure they are showing the "right" side of the punched shapes.) The results were good. My 6th graders finished today, the 4th and 5th graders will finish next week.

Daughter M.

Some of my 6th grade's finished works.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Valentine's Party

Daughter M. went to a Valentine's tea today. They played games, ate chocolate dipped strawberries and cinnamon rolls, and made fabric covered journals. Two of the girls got stuck in the snow on the way to the party, but in the end, a good time was had by all. Bottom pix, L to R: Ann, Emily, Susannah, Katherine, Maria, Nicole, Cecelia, (front) M. Elizabeth, Lindsey and Tessie

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ground Blizzards and Basketball

Last night we braved the weather and drove to Husband's alma mater for two basketball games. We went with his brother Brian and Dena, and watched their nephew play. The weather was nasty, but the roads were passable. The men's game went into double overtime.

This morning the wind was blowing so much that our south road was just about snowed in between church and Sunday school. We made it to town for lunch, (above) then came home by the north road. It's still snowing and blowing. We won't be going anywhere tomorrow until the plow goes through. We also made a quick stop at the home and saw Aunt Marilyn and Aunt Mary.


When we dressed this morning, Husband presented me with a heart necklace! Yippee. I love it. And when we went to church, we took these heart cut-out cookies for "coffee" time. It was our turn to serve.

I love this recipe from Better Homes and Gardens (Nov. 1998), because there is no chilling before you roll them out. They are kind of a cross between a shortbread and sugar cookies.

Twinkly Star Cutouts (or hearts, etc.)

1 c. butter, softened
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
3 c. all-purpose flour

Beat butter in bowl for 30 seconds. Add sugar, beating until combined. Add egg, beating until combined. Beat in as much flour as you can. Stir in any remaining flour. Divide dough in half. On floured surface roll half the dough to 1/8 inch thickness. Cut with cookie cutters. Gather and re-roll scraps. Bake cookies 6 min. at 375 degrees on greased cookie sheets.

Powdered Sugar Glaze

Stir together 4 c. powdered sugar and 1/4 c. milk. Tint to desired color with food coloring. Frost cookies.

Focal Point

On Friday, we did an art project that helped us to understand the art concept of focal points. We learned that artists use three things to make a focal point in their work; color, contrast and structure. We looked at three paintings by famous artists-Fruit and Jug on a Table by Cezanne, The Last Supper by DaVinci, and Self Portrait by Van Gogh-to illustrate each of these ways of making a focal point. Then the kids had a chance to try this concept themselves by tracing and coloring heart shapes to make their own composition with a focal point. This was a fun, quick project from, and filled the end of class while the heart box paint was drying. A very effective mini-project.

ValentineHeart Papier-Mache' Boxes

Here are some of the finished heart boxes from our homeschool co-op art Valentine's project. (See earlier post.) This week, the kids opened their boxes, removed the clay and painted the inside and outside. I modified the project (found on by punching holes in the sides and using narrow ribbon to tie them closed. The kids loved this project, and I hope their parents enjoy it, too!

Valentine's Day

Here is the sum of our love, minus two who had to work. We went out for a lovely brunch today. This picture is not the best quality, but it is fun to have a record of (most of) us together on Valentine's Day. We will be married 29 years in May, and dated four years before that. We were featured in the local paper today in an article on high school sweethearts. There is also a video on-line at our local paper's site.
Below: Blast from the past. The first picture is from 1979, after the royalty ceremony our senior year. The second picture is from 1983, after two years of marriage. The other couple are my college friends Karen and Doug. They had been married one year. Both couples had their first children the next year-them in Feb. and us in March. Those two baby boys have been friends for 26 years now.Here are the girls with their brother J. after brunch today. On the bottom picture we captured the dimple patrol.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Friday Art-Papier Mache'

Daughter W's art class last Friday was all about stained glass and symmetry, as her teacher takes them through history with art.

My two classes worked on papier-mache'. I have been looking for a papier-mache' project that was do-able in a group in a short period of time. These little heart boxes from fit the bill. We will finish them up next week.
Papier-mache' is French for "chewed paper". It is durable, inexpensive and readily avaliable. It has historically been used worldwide. Interesting historical uses include faux wood panels for coach doors, panels and structures, furniture, armour, shields, firearms manufacture and even as lightweight, disposable, auxillary fuel tanks for WW II airplanes. It is used today for decorative items, pinatas, baskets, trays, sculpture, masks, on movie and play sets and for parade floats. Dry mache' can be cut, sanded, and painted.

You will need:
paper, torn into strips
glue made from water and flour (mix flour with cold water until like thin cream)
clay to make a form
plastic wrap
waxed paper or plastic disposable plates-to work on

Each student had a plastic plate, clay, paper towel, copy paper and a square of plastic wrap. We put a large piece of paper under each student's supplies to contain flour paste drips. The students formed the clay into a fat heart. (Make sure it is thick enough that it can be cut in half horizontally to make a top and bottom. If students make a flat heart, the heart can remain unopened after covering with papier mache' and painted as a paper weight.) Wrap each clay heart in plastic wrap. Trim and tape if necessary to make it smooth.

If you use two different types of paper-one for each layer-it is easier to be sure that each heart is covered with two layers. We used paper towel and copy paper. Newspaper is commonly used for papier-mache', but unpatterned paper is easier to cover when painting. I mixed up larger batches of flour glue and used plastic lids to put glue into for each student to work from. Tear strips of paper before dipping pieces into glue and smoothing between fingers to remove most of the glue before wrapping clay form with glued strips. Wet rags on each table help with messy fingers.

After gluing and layering two layers of paper all over each heart, let dry, turning hearts occasionally for even drying. When fully dry after 24 hours or so, cut along edges with a knife to make a top and bottom. (Adult job.) Remove clay. Paint inside and outside.

For more detailed directions and how to mix the flour glue, there are many books and sites with instructions for papier-mache'. My favorite book on this subject is Papier-Mache' for Kids by Sheila McGraw.