Tuesday, April 27, 2010

doodlebugs flashback, 12.4.09, cool colors

after a little break for turkey day, we got back to work...picking up with cool colors. just gotta use water for that one! we had little jars of super diluted water color paste and plopped ourselves right down on the floor to paint. our challenge was to collapse a coffee filter by getting it wet. i've done this with older kids in the classroom, and it will leave a nice circle shape with little white streaks here and there where the coffee filter wrinkles and less paint gets through. well, the little ones were less inhibited, and there was water everywhere. no matter...they had fun, got to talk about cool colors in a very tangible way, and ended up with some very damp masterpieces. i'm going to have to rack my brain and come back to post which book we used...can't remember and didn't write it down (mamabrainitis).

doodlebugs flashback, 11.20.09, warm colors

the focus that week was warm colors. it was a perfect time to take notice of the beautiful fall colors around us, so i asked the kids to bring leaves they'd gathered to group. we read pumpkin soup, another of those great auntie jessica books i've mentioned before. its illustrations are rich with oranges, browns, and yellows...cozy and warm.

we used the leaves to make prints with tempera paints.

we were up to our elbows in juicy paintyness!

doodlebugs flashback, 11.13.09, art group lives again!

figured it'd be nice to have a record of our art group adventures, so this week, i'm going to do some doodlebug flashbacks.

first, the story... i'd led an art group back in washington, and i was excited to get something going here, too. initially, the inspiration came from wild at art, a pottery/mixed media art studio in moscow, idaho, that hosted art classes for young children. i was reading susan striker's book, young at art, at the time, and i was very excited to create as many art opportunities for leif & eric as possible. we had a great time at the studio, and i loved the way she linked it to children's books. it was a bit of a drive for us, and when an art space became available right in town, it all seemed to fit together to start a local group. it was loads of fun back then, too, but the cost was sometimes prohibitive, and i had to charge a tuition to pay for supplies and the space. oh, and the name? well, can't take credit for that, either...that was my friend, cassie...clever, yes?

fast forward a year and a half (including the crazy adventures of a move, a new baby, and a new house), and i was ready to dive in again. in our new town, i was delighted to hear of "talents & treasures", a local non-profit group dedicated to supporting local artists and events. they loved the idea of authentic art opportunities for the little ones, and generously agreed to purchase our supplies. the space we use (so perfect with a big open room, sturdy tables, and SINKS!) is also free, thanks to a local church.

looking back to last november, i see i didn't take such great photos. i'm a little better now at remembering to get close-ups of the kids' works and to look for all those wonderful details, like the chubby, dimpled fingers wrapped around a paint brush. i'll also try to include a shot of the book for the blog, so we can remember the authors/illustrators who helped to inspire us! i get lots of inspiration from the internet, too...i stumbled upon one of my favorites, the artful parent, a few months ago and find LOTS of great ideas there.

oh...so for our first class, we read cat's colors, an attractive, boldly illustrated book about a cat's favorite color. we all chose our favorite colors, and just got busy painting! leif is working in the photo above, and eric made a pretty cool "factory" that day.

preparing the celebration

a couple of days ago, we got busy creating a pretty sweet little gift for baby sam (are they still babies at 1?). the boys & i are working on a fabric book of some of sam's favorite things. pretty funny the way some of his favorites are interpreted through they eyes of his brothers; all of eric's drawings were of star wars characters, and leif explained his tiger picture by stating that it was a cat (even though we're pretty sure sam's favorite kitty right now is of the domestic variety). we just used permanent marker on fabric scraps and then i'll applique them onto the pages. the day before his birthday, as we finished up some more pages for the book, sam kept himself busy climbing up and down the stairs all. day. long. and of course, in true 1-year-old style, he insisted on coming down head first, despite his mama's repeated instructions on turning around and coming down backward, feet first. leif did a great job keeping him busy with the bird guide while eric and i made the traditional carrot cake for first birthdays. stay tuned for photos of the big day!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


happy day...full of discovery, now that i think back on it. the big boys woke early and sneaked downstairs to find many of their (stuffed) rabbit friends on the table delivering a special note from the easter bunny. a bit perplexed, but willing to accept that possibility, they moved on to discover chocolate bunnies and star wars books, which kept them plenty busy while i went out to "see" if the easter bunny had hidden our eggs... sure enough, he had! we bundled up and ventured out, baskets ready for filling. even the discovery of the goodie baskets could scarcely deter them from their primary mission...hunting down those eggs.

once inside, they slowly investigated their baskets. they were pretty excited to find the first five magic tree house books, and leif kept clarifying that this did indeed mean we got to keep them, and they would not have to be returned to the library. my favorite gifts from mr. e.b.? a handpainted wooden egg for sam, and little ceramic figurines for leif and eric....a deer and a bunny. turns out the deer is a favorite of sam's...i think he thinks it's a dog (his very favorite animal right now), since he barks at it.

but the boys' favorite gifts by far were the dinosaur eggs meant to be dissected delicately by future paleontologists in order to reveal the wonderful little dinosaur inside. this trumped all else and kept them busy for a loooonnnnnggggg time....and oh, the JOY when those little dino parts started peeking out!

after food, playing outside, and naps (for sam and me...oh, sweetness!), we piled into the van for a little adventure. the little boys fell asleep in the car, and leif and joe braved the chilly wind to make some discoveries of their own, like the giant heavy spool leif insisted on rolling across the field (to bring home i suppose?), the little pond covered with mysterious tiny red flowers, and lots of bones. the evening included very tired munchkins, easter spaghetti, much-needed tubbies, and smooth bedtimes...sweet dreams.

Friday, April 2, 2010

doodlebugs 4.2.10, tempera paint & aluminum foil

today, inspired by this book, we added a little aluminum foil sparkle to our paintings. the kids love the shiny spots in the book, so we thought it'd be fun to add a little something extra to our works. the paint itself was pretty good at keeping the foil glued down, but some of the heavier pieces did fall off...maybe a little glue, too, next time.

the saga continues...

may the force be with you, or rather, with me as i absorb all that is star wars and do my best to impersonate whatever character i am assigned. i've been told i do a fair padame. my skills and enthusiasm pale in comparison to leif and eric who spend hours bringing star wars (they've seen bits and pieces of the movies) to life. their favorite activity revolves around a star wars podracing video game that joe plays while they watch. their focused observations have led to amazing lego replicas, pages and pages of drawings (inspired by the "art gallery" on the video game), and very energetic races where they become pods themselves, racing through the house and around the property. more recently, they've used fir cones as pods because they're so fun to break up into bits as they crash. they've even got the sound effects down to a science, "chorting" their way through the rotation of characters, acting out the mannerisms, voices, and postures of the myriad alien racers. leif made the books above as manuals to help me as i muddle through trying to remember who's who. each page includes a pilot, his pod, and his name. must have been very entertaining, because he's made several volumes, each with different characters....even some new ones they've created, like ronjode scary...um hmmm....

building (or repairing?) podracers (yes, that's an english soldier, but never mind that part...if you can sit, you can race pods).

the pilots "pause" their race for a quick pit stop.

at the starting line...getting set to be driven across the floor as the "announcer" gives play-by-plays of the action, while also trying to keep the "baby monster" at bay.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

wet felting & cookies!

ok, so today we went a little crazy with the easter crafty goodness. maybe i was making up for our complete lack of st. patrick's day art. or more likely, easter/spring is just so much more fun.

anyway, we started the day with some wet felting, something i've wanted to try for a long time. inspired by this, we picked up supplies on wednesday and went for it! ours didn't really felt all that well, but it was so much fun, i'm sure we'll get the hang of it with some more practice. we have yet to make some little felted chickies to go inside, so for now, it's an easter penguin.

after working on something to look at and hold, we decided we better also make something to eat! sam didn't seem to mind eating his plain. the big boys didn't seem to mind eating up their frosting artwork.