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Crayon on Canvas

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Just saw this at a friend’s house the other day. A friend of my friend had just finished her student teaching and was given this unique piece of art as a farewell gift.

I was so intrigued by the work that I decided to share it here.

It’s very simple to do, (so I was told, I don’t profess to have made it) –
• Glue crayons to canvas.
• Blow hot air from a hair dryer over the crayons.
• The heat will make the wax spread, creating this fabulous piece of artwork.
• PS – note that they glued the crayons so that you could see the name of each color.

Simple, unique, beautiful, creativity. My favorite kind of crafting!

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Summer Blues? Hearing “I’m bored” a little too much?

Pirate Image copyright Jana Friel 2011

Encourage the kids in your life to CREATE!

Have them enter the Waldron Publishing Summer Stories Contest –

WHO: All children and youth ages 5-18 are encouraged to enter.

WHAT: Original stories or artwork based on a pirate theme.

WHEN: June 25-August 20th, 2011

WHERE: Find out more at www.waldronpublishing.com.

WHY: Plenty of great reasons:

  • To stop the summer boredom blues.
  • To get kids reading and writing.
  • To develop talents and skills.
  • To build resumes.
  • To give them a chance to learn about the publishing process.
  • To have a chance to win fabulous prizes.
  • To contribute to a children’s charity.
Get writing and drawing today!!!
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Home Concerts

Several months ago, my dear friend, Cydnee had been to a home concert of Indie artist, Sarah Sample. Sarah makes her living as a singer/songwriter and Cydnee, a very talented musician, set up a house concert which I was able to attend last month.

It was a brilliant evening of socializing, eating and celebrating art and music. What a nice way to spend a night. I wonder why more people don’t do these types of activities. I know they did years ago before we “plugged in” and art forms became things that we observed rather than participated in.

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Cydnee with her other true love.

This is Cyndee at her piano, she performed several songs that I enjoyed immensely (I’ve always been a fan of her work).

When we walked into her house, I thought, “wow, did Cyd get some new art?” I forgot that part of the evening was to show off Melissa Gaddis-Simkulet’s beautiful work.

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Melissa's art was unique and engaging.

They put out a spread and we socialized, passed a hat for Sarah and then enjoyed a lovely concert. Sarah did a showcase of her work after Cydnee. She is a brilliant lyricist, I was quite impressed with the depth of her songs. Her work can be found  here.

Sarah Sample - Image

Sarah's beautiful smile, such a great performer!

It was such a special evening and I’ve been pondering it since, trying to think of ways to encourage friends and family to share their creative pursuits.   Any ideas?

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Book Review: Usborne Children’s Books

I am such a fan of the Usborne Books.  I first found one in the library and then another, and then another and began to notice that I kept checking out books by the same company.  They are beautiful books, full of pictures and  colors and yet they are very simple.

The Usborne Publishing company was founded in the UK in 1973 and they publish all sorts of books for children –  fiction, non-fiction, etc. on a broad range of topics.  Their website can be found here.  While I am not intending to sell their books, I do recommend taking a look at them.  I think that they are very user friendly for families.

Recently I asked for two of the drawing paperbacks for Christmas (I know,  a geeky gift and I’m sure that my sis-in-law thought that I was a nut-case!)  I am such a wretched artist, but I want to learn at least more than stick-figures.  I’ve purchased some drawings for idiots type of books, but they were so complicated that I wasn’t up to the task.  I was impressed with these books and how easily the steps were outlined.

How to Draw Princesses and Ballerinas (Usborne Activities) by Fiona Watt, 2005

 

My daughters are as fond of them as I am.  My six-year-old loves drawing and doing the activities and my three-year-old “reads” them to herself, sitting and making up stories.

 

How to Draw Fairies and Mermaids (Usborne Activities) by Fiona Watt, 2005

I believe that it is VERY important that as parents, we provide non-electronic (i.e. movies, video games, music, etc)  activities for our children whenever possible.  They need to learn how to be unplugged as much as they need to learn how to be plugged in!

  • What non-electronic activities do your children do?
  • Any similar art book suggestions, especially “boy” books ?
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Concert Etiquette for Children

Teresa Carreño, c. 1862 (printed later), Modern albumen print from wet plate collodion negative by Mathew Brady Studio. Taken with permission from Flicker with CC license by Cliff1066.

Teresa Carreño, c. 1862 *

Last Saturday we went to an Art Show at BYU.  My five year old was an ANGEL!  (She also did really well at the Nutcracker ballet when she was a few months shy of turning four.)   I think that children, even young ones (ages 4-6), can do very well at live events (concerts, plays, shows, etc.) IF;

  1. They are given expectations ahead of time.
  2. They are given background information (this music was used in that movie, or remember when we saw this picture, here are some more like it).
  3. They are given things to look for/listen to.
  4. They are taken to things that are relatively age appropriate.
  5. We remember their specific limitations. (For example, my two year old wasn’t an angel at the art museum, but it was during her nap time, after all).

Here are some ideas about expectations for different events.

Art Museums

Rules at art museums are in place to ensure that the art is kept in good condition and so that patrons can quietly meditate.  Often art has a spiritual or religious nature to it or it has been created to understand/process a difficult topic.

  • Quiet voices.
  • Follow the posted rules and guidelines.
  • Don’t TOUCH the art!
  • Typically no food, drink, gum, etc.
  • Usually no photography (flashes can damage some paintings).
  • Children should stay with parent/guardians the entire time (no running around, etc.)
  • Be aware of others around you – respect their space.
  • Ask me lots of questions 🙂 I’ll often stand with my girls and ask them to tell me what they see, or ask them to look for things.  For example –pick your favorite piece of art and tell me why you like it.
  • If I don’t know the answer, and as they get older I’m sure I won’t, we’ll ask the attendant/curators questions.

Concerts –

Typically classical music performances are more formal than other musical concerts (rock, country music, etc.), but an understanding of the etiquette guidelines will help concert goers to feel comfortable.  Help your child to understand that the performers have worked really hard (put in hours of practice) to get ready for the performance.

  • Dress – typically dress at a concert is formal to semi-formal (think of how one would dress when going to church, synagogue or place of worship).
  • Arrive and find your seat five to ten minutes early. An usher will help you find your place.  Quiet conversation is fine until the lights dim. If you arrive late, you will not be allowed to enter until intermission.
  • Program – You are usually given a program.  Though these are FULL of advertisements, there are usually some very helpful and educational program notes that are worth reading.
  • Stay in your seats – unless there is an emergency.  There is usually an intermission in which you can get up, stretch, use the facilities, etc.
  • No talking during the performance.  Also no cell phones, texting, eating, drinking, popping gum, etc. (Basically, show respect to the performers and those around you.)
  • Clapping – Usually after a performance there is a quiet moment in which all enjoy the magic of what just occurred.  Then the audience claps, sometimes shouts “bravo”, and at times gives a standing ovation when the work was particularly good.  Follow the audience as to appropriate times to clap (sometimes there are pauses between pieces (movements) when the audience does not clap).
  • Outdoor “Pops” Concerts – these concerts are less formal (dress is more casual, picnicking is sometimes allowed) but good manners are still expected.

Shows – Musicals, Operas, Ballet –

The rules are typically the same for these performances as those for a concert.   Again –

  • Make sure that the content is appropriate (will it be entertaining for the child?)
  • Make sure that the length is appropriate (shows can last for two or more hours.  Very young children fidget after 10 minutes. )
  • Introduce the children to the subject matter/story ahead of time – help them understand the story, listen to the music, give them things to look for.
  • A great idea is to show DVD/Video performances ahead of time, so that your children are familiar with the content.
  • Often there will be special children friendly performances which will be shorter or geared toward the kids.  Look out for these.

Introducing children to cultural activities is beneficial to your child, your family, and society because it gives them;

  • Appreciation for things of beauty and culture.
  • Manners – the realization that there are codes of behavior – ways to act that are appropriate in different situations.
  • Dressing up and going to an event makes kids feel special.  It’s exciting and fun!
  • An understanding that there are many wonderful and beautiful things in the world.
  • Hopefully in our fast-paced society, it will give them moments to stop and reflect quietly.  (Children need time learn to think.  I loved driving around in the car as a young girl, my parents would play classical music, and I would look out the windows and just think.)

It’s worth the time and effort to help your children learn to appreciate cultural events!

*Modern albumen print from wet plate collodion negative by Mathew Brady Studio. Taken with permission from Flicker with CC license by Cliff1066.

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And an Orange Peel on a Christmas Tree (sung to the tune of 12 days of Christmas)

Last week we went to dinner at the *Moseman’s house, (*name changed to protect the innocent, and not so innocent :)).  After a great dinner, we were sitting around eating “cutie” oranges (the kind that are so easy to peel).  The kids (five of them ages 6-18) were peeling their oranges in really elaborate designs.  Later, I saw that the peel was on the Christmas tree, and I laughed about it, until I noticed that there were a lot of peels on the Christmas tree.

When I pressed the issue, I was told that the girls of the family decorated the tree in orange peels this year.  I love it!  I love that the kids are allowed to do their wacky ideas in that house.  The thing that’s really amazing about this family is that the father and grandfather build airplanes.  Not model airplanes, but real two passenger airplanes in the barn in their backyard.

Yeah, as in “See ya later Ma, I’m  just going to go out and build an airplane with Dad, be back for dinner!”

We had the dinner with the Mosman Grandparents and the grand matriarch, let’s call her Maggie, asked me to look at a book that her daughter had written and illustrated.  The design of the children’s book took my breath away, and even more shocking was the fact that this daughter had written it when she was a teenager.

The house was full of inventions, design, and creativity.  I asked Maggie how she taught her children to be so creative, and she said that it was because she and her husband were creative.  But I need to add that these people were not just the “idea” type of  people, but the “doing” people as well.  The couple possessed the twin virtues of vision and work ethic – and the kids followed suit.

I told Maggie a little about my oldest daughter (who calls herself an artist).  Maggie told me that in order to encourage her, I should go to the store, buy some mats, and frame her work.

A couple of days later, my daughter drew a picture for me and wrapped it up as a present.  I took Maggie’s advice, and bought a frame.  When I showed the frame to “J”, she looked like her five-year-old heart would burst with joy and gave me a gigantic hug.

When I asked the Orange Peel father (Maggie’s son) about writing this post and how often the girls decorate for holidays, he said that they are fanatic about it, “doing up the home” with wonderful wacky children mayhem for every holiday.  I asked if he was OK with it, and he said, “you think I could stop them?”

I guess orange peels on the tree serve a grand purpose after all, your kids just  might end up being  the next Wright Brothers!

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Question about the avatars.

Do you like the little avatars that are posted on the comments?  I set it up (a wordpress extra)  to put the little monsters on, and I noticed that the same avatar is on each person that comments.

I think they’re really cute, and I think it would be fun to have a group of children make a set of monsters as a creative art idea.

Any ideas on what to do with the monsters?  I mean I know that it would be a great way to get them to practice drawing and creating, but what could you do with a set of monsters?

  • a card game
  • stationary
  • illustrate a story about the monsters

What else you got?