Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Little Manger Scene for Everyone

A few weeks ago at 
our Starry Night event at church
we used baby in a manger centerpieces and I wanted all of the children 
who attended to have their very own baby in a manger as well. 
Remember the budget was non-existent 
so cue the craft supplies hanging around at church or that were free.
In the "free" department I always like TP roll projects :)

I had my youth helpers cut the TP rolls in half lengthwise. We used a short piece of wire to hot glue a small wooden star to the TP roll "manger" I bought a huge bag of thin, small wooden stars at Hobby Lobby and spray painted them with paint I had. The starts were $2.97 for a zillion stars. I have more than half left for another day.This prep was done in advance since hot glue was needed.

Then they cut a bunch of short pieces of raffia from an old bundle that was in the closet. 
Everyone has some raffia hanging around :)

An old white sheet that I have been using for projects for literally years was torn into strips about 3/4 of an inch by about a foot.
 It doesn't need to be exact and tearing looks great - no need to cut.

I bought this bag of little clothespins for $1.97 when wooden items were 40% off at HL. 
Then we let the children glue some "hay' in the bottom of the TP roll manger with a star. They made two little Sharpie dots for eyes on the clothespin and then "swaddled" the clothes pin with the torn sheet.
 It doesn't matter how they go about wrapping up the baby - it works every time.

They were so cute and they loved carrying around their little baby in the manger and the parents thought they were adorable. It was a quick and easy craft with low cost, small amount of prep and every age child could accomplish it!

I have been getting hang out with some 6th graders at a neighboring church once a month.
Their director invited me to come "make art' with them once a month. It is a ton of fun and she gives me a lot of freedom in choosing the projects to go with the verses or stories that are a part of their lessons.

They have a big, creative space and they are NOT afraid to get messy!! My kind of peeps. And, my friend has paid interns who will help set up and clean up whatever messy project I come up with!!! That's a bonus! 
Right before Thanksgiving we got a head start on the Advent season and made these ornaments from my favorite, Crayola Model Magic air dry clay.
They always turn out perfectly. 
This project is great for all ages and they can make several so they can give some as gifts!!
We challenged them to take one of their ornaments and give it to someone they don't normally give gifts to - even a stranger in a random act of kindness and bring a smile to someone's face. You never know when someone's day might be changed by even that small gesture. I can't wait to meet with them in January and see who followed through. That's kind of a tough assignment for a sixth grader.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Baby In the Manger

We had a very fun family event at church last Friday night. It was planned to kick off our Advent season. We were about a  week early but the way Thanksgiving hit we had to schedule this way and it was really perfect. Everyone was relaxed and not rushed because we weren't in the busy December season where everyone has 2 or 3 events every weekend night.
The event was called "Starry Night" and we served dinner so we needed centerpieces to go with the theme for each table and the budget was small - really small. Like $0.00 :)
So I scrounged around at home and this is what I came up with.
I had some large wooden balls and large jumbo craft sticks. I painted cute little faces on the balls and glued them to one end of the craft stick (which I broke in half)

Then I tore long strips of white sheeting that I had on hand.
 The strips were about an inch wide and about 30 inches long. 

I put a dab of hot glue on the top of the poor baby's head and glued the strip of fabric down. Then I just started wrapping the baby's head and body 
until it looked like a little baby all "swaddled" up!

And there you have the cutest little baby all wrapped up!

I went out in the yard and grabbed some 6 inch clay pots I had stacked up. I soaked them in Clorox water in the sink and washed them out very well. They were going on tables where we would eat so I didn't want some creature to come crawling out :)
I stuffed a couple of plastic Publix bags in the pots after they were dry.

Then I snipped a bundle of raffia into strips and
 filled my clay pot (manger) with the raffia (hay.)

Then I printed the verse that was our theme for the event onto some gold chevron scrapbook paper. I punched two holes and threaded it onto a skewer. This made a cute banner that I stuck in the pot and secured with a dab of hot glue.

 I glued the baby in the manger and 
then I repeated it until all the centerpieces were finished. 
I tied some scraps of ribbon on each skewer and when we got them placed on the tables I tied a star shaped gold helium balloon to each skewer. I didn't  take a picture of all of them on the tables but it was the perfect centerpiece - the baby in a manger was nice and low and then the bobbing gold star balloon was up high and out of the way of conversation around the tables. They were festive, the children loved them, they were perfect for our theme and I didn't have to buy a single thing other than the gold star balloons at the Dollar Tree!

And because the theme for our Advent Kick-Off was appropriately stars, we had a huge inflatable planetarium in our gym. This thing was awesome and can seat 60 people inside. Our families loved it - the tickets were $5.00 and 
benefited our Youth International Mission Trip 2014.

It was a fun and exciting Starry Night!

What Does The Fox (Actually) Say?

Had a fun little Art camp with my favorite 4 and 5 year olds a couple of weeks ago. The lesson was about drawing from verbal instruction using basic shapes and a limited palette.
We drew the currently trendy Fox.

We drew on rectangles of sandpaper which give a cool texture when you use crayons.

They all looked great and a little bit different from one another. We used a black crayon to draw our outlines - no going back. We "fixed' our drawing (if we felt we made a mistake) and made it work without starting over. Creative problem solving.

Just using black and white crayons plus 2 colors for the whole artwork.

Just a little bit of white crayon starts to add personality to Mr. Fox.
( Every time I write or say Fox it makes me think of the movie "You've Got Mail.")

After all the black and white was drawn and colored in we used an orange crayon to color Mr. Fox.

He's cute and doesn't it seem like more colors are involved than simply three??
In the end we added a fourth color and made the grass green.

Then we punched holes on each side and threaded a twig from the yard through as a cute woodsy hanger.
We used twine, too.

I love this fat, round guy!

They were very proud of their fabulous Fall Fox pictures and loved the rough sandpaper as the background.
We ready a couple of great books about foxes even though our fox did not tell the ox he had rocks in his socks :)

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!! or Pin It For Next Year*!!

I went on a little road trip through ... of cotton...

... snowy fields everywhere...

...then I crossed a beautiful bridge...

...and ended up in the land of salt marshes and pluff mud...

... and the next morning I crossed over the dunes...

... and there was the amazing beach and blue skies...

... then I wandered over to a beach of eerily beautiful, huge driftwood trees...
... but what I was truly supposed to be doing was
teaching at a conference on Jekyll Island, Georgia.
Lucky me.
Hands down the best place for a conference is the beach!!
I planned a little make and take for all the teachers 
who gave up their Saturday to come to a conference 
(even if it was at the beach!) 
and since it was the Saturday before Halloween 
I decided that we would make a variation  
of this super popular project/post, the snowman in a baggie, 
which has been viewed and pinned zillions of times.
So, gather up a baggie
 some red and yellow food coloring
 hair gel, hand sanitizer 
or mix up a batch of unflavored gelatin if you are worried about young children,
scraps of black peel and stick fun foam, plain black fun foam, white peel and stick fun foam and pumpkin seeds.
You can make this for pennies.

Using the black peel and stick fun foam, cut out eyes and a mouth. Stick on the outside of the baggie. Add teeth, if you want, cut from white peel and stick foam.
 ( They look like Chicklets gum to me!!)

Then squeeze some hair gel into the baggie and a drop or two of  red and yellow food coloring. Drop in a nose shape cut from foam that isn't sticky back.
This can be a lesson on color mixing and shapes!!!
Then just squish the baggie around until the hair gel is completely orange.
The object of this fun activity is to squish the nose shape that is inside the baggie into it's proper place in the pumpkin face. They can squish it around over and over again!! Great motor skill activity and it's relaxing as well.  
If you teach really young children you can put the activity together and then tape the baggie down to the play table and they can manipulate it on the flat surface - easier for little ones or in a special needs class.  Everyone loves this squishy project!!
And for added authenticity you can drop a few pumpkin seeds in the baggie and your pumpkin has seeds in the goopey inside just like the real deal!!

He'ssquishy, gooey fun!!
* I tried to post this sooner but I had some technical difficulties so you can pin it for next year and be ahead on Halloween activity planning !!!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

You Will Be Floored By This....

This is a little bit like airing my dirty laundry or something.
 Putting your dingy bathroom floor online is a bit personal, but here goes.

The "white" vinyl in CG's/The Hall/ The Guest bathroom had gotten yellowed and generally stained and disgusting. It was just dingy and no amount of cleaning was going to help. I had painted the walls white-white and that didn't help matters. I looked for gray and white flooring and didn't see a thing I liked. I mean, other than gray and white carrera marble tile. Not happening in a little used bathroom no matter how bad it actually looked. But I couldn't take the dingy floor any longer. So, paint to the rescue. ( I did some research and read a lot
of comments online that said whatever you do don't paint vinyl flooring and then I did it anyway. That's how I roll. Seriously- look at that gross floor. Could it actually be worse. Think not.)

I did two coats of Kilz Primer using a foam roller brush. CG wasn't going to be home for a few weeks so I let each coat dry overnight in hopes that it would help the durability. I usually rush drying times and then have to "fix" mistakes so this was extremely cautious for me.

Then I base coated the entire floor in this paint from Sherwin Williams. I love this paint. It is amazing. It doesn't smell great but I'll trade that for the durability and sheen. I used a foam roller and it was nice and smooth! PS. I do not get any compensation from Sherwin Williams - I just love their paints and I have used many brands in the past.

I did two coats so that I had good coverage.
It was a huge improvement just plain and white.

But I couldn't stop there. I pulled the trusty blue tape.

Then I had the same paint mixed in our fav SW gray
and rolled on some fun, wide stripes.

I put a little dot of tape in the stripes that don't get painted just in case I get off task. It happens. Blame it on paint fumes if it does.

Pull off the tape after two coats of gray and it is the cutes striped floor ever.

CG was surprised when she came home and loves it!!!
So far it is holding up perfectly!!

And to make the room even cheerier and fun I painted the ceiling College Girl's favorite soft yellow. I had the paint left over from the stripes in her bedroom so I figured why not?!
Fresh and clean looking! Finally!

UPDATE!!! I first posted this in October of 2013 and here we are in May of 2015 and the floor has held up perfectly. College Girl even spilled finger nail polish on it once (that I know of) and it didn't bubble or ruin the paint job!! Go for it - just do the prep!! I think that's the key!