by Amy on May 5th, 2011 // Handmade Gifts, mother's day
Mother’s Day is almost here and what better way to make your Mom or Grandmother happy then to make her something that she can keep up all year long. If your house is anything like ours, the fridge is loaded up with kids artwork. Well, we thought we would take it one step further and make little, mini-magnet art pieces to hold up the work – and whatever else you want to keep handy on the fridge.
We started by looking in our pantry, there we found a box from some cookies that was headed for the recycling bin. I cut the large panels out to two rectangles for the kids to create their artwork. Ethan and Nora chose to paint, but you could use markers or crayons as well. I had them fill up the whole area of cardboard that way when you cut them out, you won’t have to worry about missing any of the design.
If you’re using paint like we did I recommend sealing it with Modge Podge, we used what I had on hand Sparkle Modge Podge. It’s easy to use, after the paint dries, we squirt out a glob on a paper plate and using a foam brush (any larger paint brush would do) paint the Modge Podge over the artwork. It goes on white (looks like glue) then dries clear, or in our case with glitter sparkles.
After it’s dry you can turn it over and taking a marker to the back, draw your shapes, we did rectangles (easier for little ones to cut) and circles (just trace the rim of a small jar or juice glass). After you have cut your shapes you’re ready to add your magnets. We used hot glue. An adult will need to do this part. Apply a small dot of hot glue to the back of the shape. It’s important not add the glue while the shape is laying face down, hold the shape in your hand instead, then add your magnet. Ta-da! You can stop here and be done or you can add a little paper heart on top like we did.
Adding hearts on top was sort of a happy accident. We learned the hard way while gluing on the magnets while the shapes were laying flat and melted a small blob of paint off the front of a few of our shapes – the solution – we took the left over scraps from our original artwork and cut out tiny hearts. We put them on top with regular glue and in the end they turned out to be charming little magnets!
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by Corinne on May 4th, 2011 // Food, Gifts, Handmade Gifts, Holiday, Just for Fun, mother's day, Sculptures
My mother and my grandmother brought me up to love art (and I am most grateful). And if you asked me what artist reminds me most of both of them, it would unquestionably be Sister Corita Kent.
Corita Kent, Mad for Each Other, 1967
I grew up with her colorful and profound prints in my home, and the residences of every maternal relative were graced with her artwork as well. One of her works hangs in my kids’ bedroom. She was indeed a nun for a long time with the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary where she also ran the art department for the college. She began making prints in the 50s, often using quotes from the bible. In the 60s she turned towards popular culture for her inspiration, using imagery and text from such unlikely sources as advertising and newspapers. She also regularly used poetry and literature in her work, which is how I learned the wonders of ee cummings. Her work is simple, eloquent and incredibly comforting to me, as it reminds me of my childhood and my family. I could go on and on about how much I love Corita and what she did with color and words and imagery. You can find much more about her at her official website.
Corita Kent, Song with an Apple
For this project I turned to a print that hung in my aunt and uncle’s kitchen, called Song with an Apple. I found a copy of this print in a Corita book when my kid was little, and it was meaningful, not only because it was an image I loved but because he really is the apple of my eye and makes me happy to be his mom. For our art project, I combined the image of fruit with a process of printing. Apple (and pear) stamping!
I cut apples in half and let them dry for about an hour. I cut them horizontally and vertically. If you cut it horizontally you get a star pattern from the seeds, but vertically will give you more of an apple shape. We put blobs of paint in bowls, set up our brushes and blank sheets of paper and started stamping.
We found it easier to paint the surface of the apple and then stamping on the paper, putting pressure in a few different spots to get a fully shaped print.
However my kid and I did not find it easier to accomplish this with a littler kid making a giant mess. A couple of days later my kid and I waited until the little one’s naptime to try again but I was out of apples. So we tried pears.
We made patterns with color and they turned out beautifully.
I added a stem and some leaves with colored pencil.
I was going to cut them up into individual squares to make mother’s day cards but I liked the prints too much, so we tried framing them instead. Perfect gift for Nana! And me, well, I got to get excited about Corita all over again. And to finish, here is my favorite quote I learned from her (it appears in Mad for Each Other above)…”The thing perhaps is to eat flowers and not to be afraid,” ee cummings. Now for the instructions…
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by Angie on May 2nd, 2011 // Just for Fun, Sculptures, Themes, Wearable
Every first Saturday in May, Louisville, Kentucky, hosts the biggest horseracing event of the year, The Kentucky Derby. The Derby is the Super Bowl of horseracing, attracting over a hundred thousand fans to Churchill Downs race track every year. The Derby holds many long standing traditions, from the mint julep to the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” to the iconic garland of red roses draped over the winning horse. But in our house, the biggest excitement, next to cashing a winning ticket, is finding all the elaborately designed and often over the top hats worn by the majority of female fans attending the race.
While we only watch The Kentucky Derby from home, it’s a pretty big deal in our house. We have one very passionate Daddy at home, who dreams of someday owning a horse in The Derby. Not exactly top-notch horse selectors over here, my kid and I thought we would make our guy’s day by making an at-home Derby hat, just like the crazy ones we’ve seen on television.
For our Derby embellishments, we found a Spring hat and a bunch of fake roses at the 99 cent store. We pulled out some brown felt for the track dirt and unused green Easter grass for the inner racetrack turf. We also bought a tube of mini horse figures, exactly what this Derby inspired derby needed. Have fun decorating a Kentucky Derby hat (or a Royal one!) with your kid using anything you have around. They really are fun to make and your kid will love putting it on, just like a true Derby Day horse fan! Now for the instructions…
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by Corinne on May 1st, 2011 // Exhibits, Museums
Today’s felt board project was inspired by Polly Apfelbaum’s Blossom at the Museum of Modern Art. Apfelbaum is an American artist who could be called a painter, sculptor and installation artist. She uses a wide range of materials but often uses hand cut and hand dyed synthetic velvet, and she frequently places her work on the floor. Much of her work references pop culture, such as cartoons and comic books.
Polly Apfelbaum, Blossom, 2000
Photo Credit: Museum of Modern Art, www.moma.org
Polly Apfelbaum’s Blossom is made of subtly colored (from hand-applied dye) velvet shapes placed together to make a stunning floor installation. The artist arranges the colored shapes in a spiral of colors, placing each one on the floor herself. Each shape is itself a little abstract painting, and as a whole it like a tapestry, a painting, a temporary installation and a metaphor all in one. Because it is on the floor it becomes an interactive piece—the viewer has to walk around it, negotiating the space and seeing the work from multiple angles. This artwork is from 2000 and she still works with fabric and often uses the floor as her canvas, but in new ways—I love her recent use of sequined fabric.
What I didn’t know until now is that Blossom the artwork is inspired by Blossom the Powerpuff Girl. Apfelbaum liked that Blossom had girl-power while still being cute. I like that in one description of Blossom, she is “methodical,” which could also be said of Apfelbaum in her process of making the artwork.
Photo credit: Cartoon Network
On MOMA’s Polly Apfelbaum page you and your kid can start by watching a video of Apfelbaum installing the piece and talking about her method and inspiration. Then you can see more at MOMA’s interactive section. Once you get into the gallery, press the right arrow until you get to Blossom. Then you can find out more information about the artwork, and of course explore the entire website, it’s really fun.
For our Blossom project, I decided a felt board would have better longevity than placing our felt pieces on the ground. And I liked the idea of making this into a recurring project, so we could redo it whenever we wanted. We made our felt board out of a picture frame with the glass removed. We’ve since also used it to make a variety of felt car pictures.
My kid isn’t quite as handy with scissors, so I cut some oval shapes from different colors of felt, about 6 to 8 of each color, with varying shades of each color. If your kid is really good at cutting, they can cut the shapes themselves.
My kid also really wanted other shapes, so I cut squares, rectangles and triangles for him. We ended up filling up our entire board with color–we buried our blossom a bit but had fun doing it. And now for the instructions…
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by Angie on Apr 30th, 2011 // Crafty Links
With only a little time left before Mother’s Day, here are just a few inspiring ideas to show Mom just how much you and your kid(s) really care!Imagine the little one you know putting this sweet and simple little homemade “I love you” together. Definitely fridge worthy!
Here’s a cool, interactive way to tell your Mom all the reasons you love her so.
And when you just want to go straight to the people who really know how to make beautiful things…Take a look at this homemade floral accessory for your favorite lady’s hair or shirt.
For any last minute shoppers, you cannot go wrong getting mom flowers! Here is a link for great online flower deals. It’s not too late..