Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Can These Crayons Be Saved?

All those broken crayons...We can remake them!  Peel off the paper...

Break the crayons further, arrange them just so....

I found this gear-shape silicone candy/cupcake pan on clearance.  I'll reserve it for non-edible projects.

335 degrees, 5-8 minutes. Are they all melty? Let them cool for quite awhile.

While they are cooling....April Fool's glasses!!!

Time to check the crayons!

Crayon gears! (OK, it is probably supposed to be flowers, but we have a bunch a Sm'Art boys, and they may not get into flower crayons.  Marketing is important.)

Bonus: you can angle the crayon gear to do 2 lines at once.

Lots of others have melted crayons before me.  Here are a few who've talked about it:  Crispy, cool layered crayonsScribble cookies.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Chameleons ARE Cool!

Inspiration for this lesson comes from  Deep Space Nine's Chameleon lesson.

We started Sm'Arties lesson this week in a reading circle.  Chameleons are Cool, by Martin Jenkins, has colorful, happy illustrations by Sue Shields.  I read this to the Sm'Arties, pointing out the pictures. Lest they think the colors in the pictures were exaggerated, I showed them Chameleon, Chameleon, by Joy Cowley with photographs by Nic Bishop. 

We drew the chameleons in pencil first.   I gave the children templates of the chameleon body to help with the step of sizing him big enough on the page, and to give us equal starting points.  Then we added the head features, including the characteristic down-turned mouth, the curling tail, feet, and ridges.  Limbs to hang onto completed our pictures, which, in spite of starting the same, were unique. 

We left the moms inside tracing our pictures with Sharpies (this also speeds things up).  Outside in the beautiful central Florida sunshine, we painted on little squares of paper to demonstrate wet-on-wet, wet-on-dry, salt sprinkle, and alcohol spray techniques.  Then we tried to catch papers as they blew away.

It was time to paint chameleons.  On the advice of the wonderful art teachers who post such beautiful lessons, I bought some watercolor tubes - I love them!  This is much easier than trying to liquefy the cakes of watercolor. 

 Another windy gust!  Catch everything!

We used wet-on-wet technique for the stripes, and wet-on-dry for the little stripes on the eyes.  The children got to order the special effects:  "I'll have alcohol spray and red paint splatters,"  or, ""I want alcohol sprinkle and salt sprinkle." 

 I took Ms. Patty's advice advice to keep the background simple, and just had the children add smeary backgrounds.

Here are some really cool chameleons.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Hoyes- inspired Windows

Art Projects for Kids inspired me again, with this colorful lesson based on Bernard Hoyes' art. 

A couple of weeks of practical skills lessons have been fun, but we were ready to get back to our art supplies.  

Introducing the children to the work of various artists has been great fun.  We have been delighted when we encounter work of some of these artists elsewhere.  Just one week after our lesson imitated the work of Piet Mondrian, KEISUZI and sons were AMAZED when the Jeopardy question was, "Who is Piet Mondrian?"  and just a week or two after we imitated Kadinsky, Science Geek and sons spied a Kadinsky print in Target.  ( I understand the boys spied it, and yelped, "Kadinsky! Kadinsky!")  I love homeschooling...

This week we "met" Bernard Hoyes.  I passed around sample print-outs of Mr. Hoyes' work, and we defined "contemporary," since he is a contemporary artist. (I think it took a bit of sinking-in for some of the Sm'Arties to realize that Mr. Hoyes is alive today, and probably painting somewhere.)   I love his bright colors and flowy lines.  

Though we were doing the APFK lesson, I wanted to provide space for both a man and a woman in our project.  (This turned out to be providential, as the IEW lesson for today used "The Princess and the Pea," and our boys were already feeling a bit put-upon.)  We have not used our big paper for awhile, so out it came.  {My stash of 11"x17" paper came from a store closing.  I snagged 2 reams of paper from their office for $3.  At my house, you can always ask, "Can I have a piece of paper?" I am a paper stasher.  I ALWAYS have LOTS of paper.}

I drew the windows ahead of time just to speed up the process.  As it was, all was completed in about 70 minutes. 

It really is hard for them to draw with hands, head, and lower dress/pants touching the edges of the windows.    Once the figures were penciled in, we all traced over them with Sharpies.  I though we'd need Moms' help with the Sharpies, but no!  Sm'Arties love to use K-Sue's Sharpies!  A few bricks added to the walls suggests a whole brick building.  Nice trick, huh?

Lots of oil pastels, crayons, and my one set of Crayola Slick Stix came out.  Guess what they ALL wanted to use?  The Slick Stix!  We love the silky slide, the bold colors.  ( Don't tell anyone, but I plan to use my Michael's weekly coupons whenever I can to build up a stash of Slick Stix for birthday gifts.  With each gift come a warning:  These are not washable!  Be careful!)

Their homework is to draw 2 or more drawings in their Sm'Arties homework books (also created from my big paper), with the big figures touching at least 2 sides of the paper.  I can hardly wait to see what they create.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Buttoned Up

Last week Science Geek had our children out doing cool science, measuring windspeed and direction.  These 2 pictures  have nothing to do with art, but I thought our girls were cute.

During Sm'Arties, we went more in the crafts-and-skills direction.  We learned a very valuable lesson - how to thread a needle.  We threaded  big plastic yarn needles first.

Having mastered the art of threading a needle, we threaded up a steel needle so we could sew a big button on a piece of flannel.  I bought large-eye needles for the children, but I think they will be useful for me as I progress into presbyopia.

 Whoops!  Speaking of presbyopia, there are my really strong reading glasses, the ones I use threading a needle.
 Good job!

Then I told a little story about one of our boys growing up to become a very cool best man at a wedding.  The groom comes to him distraught because a button has fallen of his shirt.  The very cool best man says, "Give me the shirt, give me the button; I'll take care of it."  In one version, the very cool best man said, "Dude...give me the shirt, give me the button."  

Coincidentally, it just so happened that 7 buttons had fallen off my husband's shirts, just that morning.  Amazing isn't it?  And just a week after he sent me down the well?   Sm'Arties to the rescue!

I am pleased to report that my husband can, once more, button his cuffs.  And all the Sm'Arties can sew on a button.