Textured Paper

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Getting back to a year of lightness and freedom includes adding daily creativity projects of some sort to our day.

With no rigidity.

Because Isaiah. Boy+sensory processing disorder+boy+wacko= minute amounts of tolerance for structured art activities that take longer than 10 minutes.

So. Textured paper. I decided that I’d like to do some art projects this year that involve using paper as a decorative component and the best way to do that is to create our own textured paper.

Also, delayed gratification is a complete unknown in this house. So learning that can only be good.

And, cutting up a creation? Talk about trauma. This is a lesson in letting go.

So.

Watercolor paper and tempera paints worked great for us.

We tried 4 styles of textured paper. Spirals, sponging, stripes and wax resist.

After spiral and a little sponging Isaiah asked if he could “just paint.” Unlike the olden days I said sure!

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First he painted me as a big fat purple monster. That was awesome.

Then he painted a beautiful landscape with bushes and clouds.

I finished the rest of the textured paper and set it to dry.

I have some ideas of what we will do with it, maybe some weaving or making a pretty garland. You’ll have to come back to see.

Here’s how we did what we did:

Spirals dip a dry brush with a flat head in your paint. Starting from the inside create a spiral until the paint has run out on the brush. Any size will work.

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Sponging I have lots of cut up sponges from other projects, so we used a small piece and dipped it in the paint sponging until it began to fade and then dipping again. We covered the whole piece of paper and let it dry and then did another color on top.

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Stripes choose 2 colors that blend well I used yellow and red, but blue and yellow or blue and green might be nice. I started with yellow stripes going one direction trying to have just enough paint on a wide flat brush to make it all the way across. Then while the paint is still wet add a little bit of the second color to the first color so the next set of stripes is a blend without being mixed. After that set make diagonal lines with the two colors mixed.

Wax Resist take a crayon and rub it on its side very hard all over the piece of paper. Then water down some paint and do a very thin wash over the whole page. Where the wax is the paint won’t stick. (This did not work so well for us. It might be because we didn’t rub hard enough, or maybe because we used such a heavy watercolor paper. Either way, if I get it right I will share that here)

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Great Winter Activity

I really don’t like winter.  Really.  I dislike being cold more than I dislike brussel sprouts.  Well, maybe not.  So, I am often encouraging my boy to play outside, in the cold, without me.  Even though his skin doesn’t like the cold, he loves the cold.  He claims he wants to live in Alaska.  On those days when it is particularly cold, and he really wants me to be outside with him, I need to think fast!

On one such day, I did think fast.  I said, “Isaiah, remember that Curious George where it was so cold outside everything he took outside froze? Remember how he made a bowling ball out of a balloon, and pins out of frozen milk cartons? Want to try that?”  Well I got a resounding “YES!”  So, we dug around the house for things suitable to fill full of water and place outside to freeze. (things that weren’t me, cause I would have froze in 5 seconds) It was fun, it was silly, we had a good time.  I filled things, he put them outside.

Now of course in the beginning he had to check them every 5 minutes. I reminded him (often) that George went to bed, and in the morning, when he woke up, his filled stuff was frozen.  Finally I convinced him to stop checking.

First thing in the morning he woke up excitedly, “do you think they’re frozen? Can we check? Can we???” Well, did I mention I don’t like to be cold? So I begged him to wait until we were dressed, fed, I had 3 cups of boiling hot tea. Then we checked!  Believe it or not it was about 20 degrees warmer the next day, the balloon was sitting in the sun, so I realized we had to hurry!  This was Isaiah with the juice carton before we peeled it.

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Amazingly it retained the shape completely.  However Isaiah could barely hold it because it was so cold!  So we placed in on the old sled to move it around.

Unfortunately we did not have the same luck with the balloon.  I think the combination of sitting in the sun before we opened it, the sheer mass (we really filled it) and Isaiah’s overzealousness to open it, made that part of the experiment go kaput.  However he still loved, breaking the balloon and smashing the ice!

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That is not balloon in his mouth, it is an orange.  I always accuse him of being a chipmunk, because he stores food in his mouth before he eats it!

All in all it was a really fun mini science experiment for him.  We didn’t learn anything specifically, except water freezes when it’s freezing out.  A ginormous chunk of ice is too cold to hold, and the sun will melt ice fairly quickly.  But that’s OK, we got cause and effect.  We got breaking things! We got some winter fun and mom didn’t have to freeze to death!

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Mom. I’m feeling mad. I’m going to felt.

Yes, you heard it right. He was feeling mad. That’s been happening a little bit more lately as we’ve been cooped up inside due to the horrendous midwest weather.

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Last week I taught Isaiah how to felt. I tried a couple of months ago. Back when I was so inspired by the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival that I wanted to move to a sheep farm. At the time, he just wasn’t interested. I thought spinning and felting would be something we could enjoy together, but I wasn’t daunted. Even though he showed no interest, I didn’t let my interest wain. I wanted to felt. Needle felting is cathartic, how could it not be? You get to pound a hunk of wool with a needle. A lot. So of course I completely understood Isaiah’s statement, and was very proud of him for identifying a need and finding a constructive way to deal with it. After a few minutes he went from being mad to wanting to felt a pancake. Yes a pancake. I know, I felt birds, gnomes, princesses and even little play men for Isaiah. I never thought of felting a pancake, but hey, who am I to squelch his creativity?

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More about needle felting. There are a ton of great resources on YouTube, I basically taught myself by searching for needle felting tutorials and watching a few. You need some supplies, and I suggest getting decent ones. I picked mine up from the Sheep and Wool Festival from Mielke’s Fiber Arts. Don’t get them from Michaels, their stuff is cheap AND expensive. I think felting is a great project for kids who are responsible enough not to poke themselves, or can handle poking themselves without tears. Because, let’s face it, even I poke myself 🙂 The needles you use for felting are barbed, so that they push the wool down and then lift it up again as it comes out (which is what it does when you stick it in your finger too). The point is you are tangling the fine fibers together so much that eventually what was soft fluffy wool becomes a dense wool object, it is really quite cool, and very satisfying! Don’t be afraid to try it, I think it’s something even the most craft-impaired person can do.

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A simple Valentine for a craft-resistant boy

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I love all of the blogs I follow.  I love the helpful hints, the crafts, the Momma support.  I love it.  I am also jealous.  I’ve been trying to find my way with the boy on our homeschooling journey. Sometimes it’s a hit, sometimes it’s a miss. I really never know. Although now I’m thinking I should. I think it’s pretty obvious. Combustion, electricity, motors….can’t go wrong there.  Crafts that last longer than 5 minutes, not so much.  But how can I resist making valentines? I also think as a Momma, I deserve some home-made Valentines from the boy I love!  Since I’m a homeschooling Momma, it’s up to me, right?  So here’s our attempt, we tried a simple Valentine for my craft-resistant boy 🙂

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We got the idea from one of my favorite blogs Boy Mama Teacher Mama.  We cut out sponges in the shape of hearts and hot glued the extra pieces of sponge to the back of the hearts to use as “handles”.  Of course Isaiah preferred the hot glue part.  He got a little lost in making spider webs out of hot glue while I prepared our craft area.

I cut out 7 large construction paper hearts.  Isaiah likes to cut paper.  That’s a craft, right?  He cut paper, while I cut hearts.  Next I put 3 colors of paint on some paper plates, white, pink, and red.  Time to stamp!  He stamped 4 cards, I was amazed and impressed that he was so careful about not getting the colors all mixed up on the sponges! Then the dot marker came out .  The last Valentine got dot markered, that was OK.  Only the Valentine’s his name was “Stinky”.  Yup.  “Hey Mom, let’s give Stinky to Josie (his cousin), but don’t tell her his name is Stinky.”  We’ll see who squeals first.

Once the stamping was done we let them dry.  Isaiah helped with the clean-up and we set them aside.  After they dried we wrote a to: and from: on them. When I turned my back his true colors came out.  He began drawing a generator right on top of one of his Valentines!  Oh well, talk about an original piece of artwork.  I am sure whichever grandparent get’s it will be thrilled!  How do you get your craft resistant child to do some crafts?

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