Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Art for Littles: Ornaments For Young Ones (That Look Nice!)

Prints! One of the first ornaments I made with the boys were hand or foot prints on cork coasters. You will need a set of cork coasters from a craft store, paint in any color you like and a brush, a hole punch, printing ink (I used white), a brayer, a surface to roll your ink on (I like to use an ikea tray to do the whole project on and keep things contained), some ribbon, and a clear sealant.
-Paint your cork tiles one solid color. You might need to coats, I just used some acrylic craft paint.
-Use your hole punch to put a hole where you want the ornament to hang. Make sure not to put the hole really close to the edge.
-Using your ink, spread some out with your brayer on your tray. Have your child make a hand print! I like to keep a washcloth nearby for cleanup before their hand goes into their mouth.
-Let the ink dry.
-Coat with a clear spray paint or sealant.

Keep in mind that hand prints are not always perfect, especially when very little babies are making them. They often curl their fingers. You can try to gently hold their fingers extended and guide their hand onto the ornament. If they are very little (younger then six months) I recommend footprints. Our older son was about nine months when he did his and he did a pretty good job, but we made a bunch extra too.

Felt! Felt can make some really nice looking ornaments with very little cost. Here are some little trees we did with felt and sequins. You will need felt, scissors, sequins, glue, q-tips, and some ribbon.
-Make a pattern to cut your felt shapes.

-Mix up some glue with just a little water (1 part glue to 1/2 part water).

-Have your kid(s) use a q-tip to apply a dot of glue and then place a sequin. If there is extra glue, don't worry, it will dry clear.
-Attach a ribbon to the back with some glue to hang. You can also punch a hole in the felt for the ribbon or stitch on a string.

Here is the example I made on the left and Owen's (three years old) on the right.

Watercolors! We use watercolors for everything! They look really nice painted onto premade wooden ornaments you can get at a craft store. You will need a wooden ornament, tray of watercolor paints (Crayola works great), a paintbrush, some ribbon, and a clear sealant.

-Using a sponge squeeze a little water into each color of your watercolor tray.

-Let your kid(s) go crazy painting!
-Seal dry ornaments with a clear coat.
-Attach a ribbon to hang.
Here is one that Beckett (one year old) made.
Here are several that Owen did a couple years ago when he was about a year old as well. He still loves making these.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Thank You.

Eight years ago, in my second semester of my sophomore year of college, I developed Pneumonia. At first I figured it was just a cold, and kept going to class. Eventually I went to the health center where they diagnosed tonsillitis and gave me some antibiotics. I stopped going to class, my fever rose, I couldn't keep food in my body, and I took those antibiotics. After two weeks of being sick, and getting progressively worse, I called my mom in a feverish and exhausted haze and asked if she thought I should go to the hospital. She came to pick me up the next day and took me to our family doctor. Just like that my school year was done. There they said I had mono and drew blood to send out to confirm this. While waiting days for those labs to come back, my body started shutting down. By the time the doctor called to say it wasn't mono, I could no longer keep water in my body, and I was pleading to go to the hospital. I had dropped out of college. I vanished from the life I had built around myself, and I didn't and couldn't care.

I was in and out of consciousness at that point, because of the low amount of oxygen in my system and my body was losing. The doctor said to come back in since I didn't have mono. So we did. Then we were sent to the hospital for a chest X-ray. Then to the ER to be immediately checked in. Then to a room to stay. When the nurse took my pulse ox, she thought the machine must be broken, because according to that I should have been in a coma. I only remember watching things from outside of myself, and I couldn't hear anyone. I was so faded. The next morning when I woke up, back inside my own body, the doctor on rounds told me that I should be dead. "You should be dead. Do you smoke? Do you eat well? How did you get so sick?" Well sir I'm pretty sure the medical community let me down on that one, but don't worry cause y'all did come in in the clutch there. My faded self had no idea what he was saying, what the words meant. I was back in my body though so I think I knew I had made it through. The point of all of this is not that I could have died, the point is that I lived and I was lost. Suddenly my life was very different from before. I got sick at the beginning of February. College life, normal life, went on for all the connections that I had in a day. I was someone else though.

Getting back inside my body, was much easier than getting back inside my head. Really I think it wasn't until we moved to Arizona that I was fully present again. So I have a big family of beautiful souls who I owe a thank you to for being and searching for me and reaching out even when I couldn't or wouldn't reach back. First I want to thank my momma bear for saving my life. Thank you for all that you did to take care of me, trying to get me better, and for standing up for me when I couldn't stand up for myself. You did so much for me and I will always appreciate it and be thankful for you. Second I want to thank all of the beautiful people at Appel Farm in the summer of 2007 for existing, talking, sharing, hugging, and the love that came pouring into my empty, faded, and worn thin soul. You all did more than you could ever have known and I will be forever grateful for that community of humans who proved to me that life is good even when you are struggling. Third I want to thank those friends from Kutztown who checked in, checked up, sought me out in any way at all, before I got really sick, while I was sick, or after I was sick. I am not super close to many people from Kutztown at the moment and that makes me a little sad sometimes, but life goes on and I love getting little glimpses of all these beautiful lives weaving their way through the world. I also want to apologize for my abrupt vacancy, both physically and mentally. Finally I want to thank all the people that I have met since then who have accepted and held on and stayed close through distance, disagreements, and struggles. All of you people are just beautiful and awesome and I appreciate every ounce of humanity that I have ever come in contact with.

Everyday we come in contact with others. Others who are struggling and we don't know it. Others who are faded and worn and we don't know it. Others who need a little bit of love and we don't know it. I will always remember that and be forever grateful for all the beautiful, caring people who once were or still are parts of my life, with our stories briefly connected in this life. So thank you all, I appreciate it.

Art For Littles: Suncatchers

This project focuses on colors, mixing colors, and light. The contact paper method we used when Owen was about 11 months old. 

Here is what you need.
Clear contact paper
Colored tissue paper in a variety of colors
Masking tape

Cut a large piece of contact paper (ours was about 9x12). Peel off the backing of the paper and using you masking tape, stick the paper down with the sticky side up. I used a big cookie sheet to stick ours to, you are basically making a big sticky canvas for them to use. Tear small pieces of tissue paper, Owen loves tearing paper and had a blast ripping and shredding the colors. Then let them stick the tissue paper to the contact paper. Once they are done cover the back with a second piece of contact paper. We added a "frame" of plane paper to outline his work between the contact sheets.