Sunday, December 20, 2009

Earthgirl's Almost Annual Homeschool Girls Christmas Craft Party

Note:  This is not a Sm'Arties class post, but another arts and crafts endeavor.

A visit from possibly the most laid-back poodle ever.

Mitten ornament-painted wood, with cloth "patch" (we love Mod Podge), Sharpie "stitches"

Reindeer ornament, waiting for the backs to dry.  We finished them with red and gold, glitter spray, and sealer. (The summer I was 15, Mama and I took a decorative/Tole painting class.  The instructor advised us to make the backs of projects "finished," too.  It really makes a difference, especially on ornaments, which are liable to spin around with their backside showing.)

Making lunch - pigs in blankets

Painting plaster ornaments (sprayed with glitter, sealer).

Yarn angels

Christmas Freeze Dance
-dancing to Celtic Women-

 General silliness and fun

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Here's What's Cookin'!

Mini-Co-op Christmas Party!

We had a short IEW lesson. I continue to be impressed with the IEW curriculum, and with Keisuzi's gentle teaching style.   (If we finish our 3 paragraphs this week, Earthgirl and I will be done with IEW until January.)

Science Geek and the children did a yeast experiment.  She said it would make a good Science Fair demonstration.  Hmmm-we might just do that. 

 Then it was time for Culinary Art, and some hands-on yeast fun!
We made pizza dough using my favorite Easiest Ever Pizza Dough.  I have put this dough together using every combination of whole wheat, half-whole wheat (I cannot figure out how to say that quickly, half whole-wheat and half regular, that is to say not whole-wheat), 7-grain, toss in oatmeal, all-white, bread flour - whatever I throw at it always seems to work.   It makes up a fluffy, thick crust.  I usually add a teaspoon or 2 of vital wheat gluten, otherwise, I just go with it.  It's great just made up as cheesy bread, with extra garlic and Italian seasoning added in or sprinkled on top. 

I have made pizza with 2 or 3 children at a time, but this was 7 children, and a lot of flour, so we worked in batches of 3-4 children at a time. Of course, when I dipped out a little pile of flour for each, they immediately started playing in it, drawing pictures.  But no flour fights broke out.  Yay!  Every child got to either measure or stir.  Then they had 30 minutes to watch a movie or play while the dough rose.  We taped the Pixar Shorts when they were broadcast on ABC Family a few days ago - perfect!  Whatever show is on, it will be over in just a minute, so we can call the children back when we need them.

I cut off a little section for each to knead.   They loved kneading the dough.  I had to stop them - "Yours is OK.  You're done.  No more kneading.  I SAID NO MORE KNEADING."

Next they rolled out their own pizzas.  Rolling takes more finesse than I had known before.  Maybe that explains why I don't do well at cookie cutter cookies.  No finesse.
I just realized that in all these pictures nobody is smiling.  We were serious about our food!  In spite of appearances, we laughed often.
(Back when I was single, about 27 years ago, I picked up that brown Rubbermaid mixing bowl at K-Mart so I could make brownies.  It is still my go-to bowl. Pretty good investment, huh?)

I mixed up a batch of white pizza for our moms' pie (doesn't it sound Chicago-ish when I call it a pie?  "Dear, whatdya want on your pie?")  I use this recipe - thanks Crispy! Of course, I don't measure; I just toss it together, and having no fresh basil and not wanting to bother with fresh garlic, I sprinkled in Italian seasoning, and garlic salt.  A couple of children who prefer cheese to sauce got a white pizza, too.  Earthgirl's was white, lots of cheese, with one single pepperoni.
Not having 7 little pizza pans, I lined up the little pies on 2 big baking sheets and one cookie sheet. This, of course, meant baking in  2 batches, too.    We moms got a round pizza. 

One might think that cookie-decorating would be Art, but Monday, cookie-decorating was P.E.! 

Peg premade the cookies, mixed up some confectionary sugar icing, and let the children loose with the sprinkles!  (I'm still sweeping up sprinkles.  Of course, part of that is a result of Daddy dropping a sprinkle-laden cookie upside down.)


Finger-lickin' good!

We will be on break for a few weeks, but I look forward to occasional posts when something is too good not to share.

Monday, November 23, 2009

An artsy giveaway

A new website to me,  Katydid and Kid, is having a cool art products giveaway from a Stubby Pencil Studio, a company that is also new to me.  Come join me and maybe one of us will win!  I'd love to put these goodies in my Sm'Arties bag. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stencils and Leaves

I was inspired by this project from Artsonia.    I liked how the project was on a skinny piece of paper.  (Note to self:  Later we must use even skinnier paper, landscape direction to make comics.)  The Artsonia students sponge-painted in the stencils with tempura, but after two weeks of sending out ART SHIRT ALERTS, I just wanted to get back to using oil pastels or colored pencils or something.   

Sketch a half-leaf on folded cardstock, and cut it out and unfold to reveal a stencil. The idea of cutting a hole in the paper was hard to grasp, and I did not anticipate what would happen.  Though I showed them exactly what I was doing and how the stencil  looked when complete, several students added a stem that reached to the bottom of the little piece of paper, resulting in a re-do or a tape fix.  No, no, DRAW the stem in later - the stencil needs no stem.

Figure out how the leaves will "fall" down the page.  (We did this project on posterboard.  I recommend using some other paper for this type project.)   Then we colored them in LIGHTLY PLEASE with fall colors.  I found that if you color with the yellow last, and kind of harder over the top of the other colors, it blends all the colors nicely.  If you color hard to begin with using the other colors, then coloring with the yellow pulls the other colors off the page, resulting in frustrated young artists. 

Now go back and outline and vein with black  Add a drop shadow. (I forgot to tell the Sm'Arties to use a drop shadow.  Maybe the moms will see this post and show their Sm'arties)  Accent the leaves with white.  Wow!  Doesn't that look cool?  Earthgirl went back and added the drop shadow under each leaf so I could take before and after pictures.             

Before adding drop shadow

After adding drop shadow

Now add swirls to represent the wind - black, white accents, then a little glitter glue accent, too.  Can you really see the wind?  No, but you see the effects of the wind.  Quote John 3:8.  For extra credit, quote it in King James version: " The wind bloweth where it listeth..." ) I forgot this part, too.  No extra credit for Miss Sm'Artiepants.

The girls found a tree frog on the window screen.

 He wants to be a Sm'Artie, too.

School's out!!!!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Falling Leaves

 Last weekend the leaves were beautiful in Athens, GA. I brought home red maple, turkey oak, and ginkgo leaves for an autumn art project.

Did you know that "gingko" and "ginkgo" are both considered acceptable English spellings?  I didn't either. 


Tracing leaves on manila drawing paper (like lightweight construction paper).

The children worked with overlapping some leaves. 


After tracing, they would line the leaves and draw veins using my brown scrapbooking pens.  It was difficult to draw spidery veins instead of straight lines.  Next time I would explain that better. 

Coloring with chalk pastels in streaks.It's hard to not color it completely!

 Smudging with fingers to blend colors.

All the pictures are bordered, also with smudged chalk pastels.

All done!  I spray with fixative so the chalk won't all rub off on the way home.

Ginkgo leaves
Maple leaves

Monday, November 9, 2009

Operation Christmas Child Part 2

Having completed artistic lids last week, we painted boxes this week - solid colors only!  (The lids last week took more effort than I had anticipated, so we went for simple and, well, finished.

Art Shirt Alert!

Color choices limited to red, green, or blue really speeds up the decision-making.  Notice the moms in the background actually had time to relax this time!  Can't see them?

There they are!

Ready to stuff and send out to children who need them.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Operation Christmas Child

Our Mini-Co-op (still trying to come up with a cool name that does not make us wonder if we should use 1 dash or 2)  - anyway, our Mini-Coop (?) is getting ready for Operation Christmas Child.  Our larger Homeschool group's Good Works Club is gathering shoeboxes filled with gifte to be distributed locally, and my church is gathering shoeboxes with toiletries and gifts to distribute through Samaritan's Purse

Instead of wrapping boxes, we are painting boxes - Kadinsky and Mondrian-style.

Love the use of the abandoned toddler toy.

Painting these boxes was more mom-intensive then I had thought.  I sent out an "ART SHIRT ALERT," but didn't think moms would need an art shirt, too. Careful, Peg!

I have a whole stack of Sm'Artie rulers to use in art class - Go ahead!  Get Sharpie marker all over them!   

 I had preprimed with Gesso and painted the boxes white. The children penciled in some boudaries, then went to town with acrylic paint.

This week we just painted the lids.  Next week we paint the body of the box a solid color.

Kadinsky-inspired masterpiece.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Fall Festival

Who is that Movie Star with Earthgirl?

It's a Sm'Artie in disguise!(her couture dress was much more impressive than the photo communitcates.)

 Science Geek comes as.....HERSELF!  -with Union soldier JD.

Loved the frog.  Gotta get me some of those glasses!
What happens when an Indian Maiden surprises a soldier?
They are a couple of hams.
What is he about to say?