Guess the book

Just for fun:

It was one of my favorites as a child.

Room re-do part III: a chalkboard and a felt board

I've been wanting to make a felt board and a wall-mounted chalkboard for a while now and finally got around to both. They were super easy (and cheap!) to make and I think they look great.

Here's what I did:

First, Harry had two pieces of 1/4 inch thick board cut to size (2 feet square I think) for me at Lowes. For the chalkboard, I painted it with regular wall primer first, then sprayed with two coats of Rust-Oleum chalk board spray paint. So easy!

And the felt board was easy too. I sprayed the wood with a spray adhesive (I used Elmers), then quickly attached a large piece of cream-colored wool felt that I bought at the fabric store, smoothing out the wrinkles with my hands. I turned the board over so the felt was underneath (but sticking out a couple inches on each side), sprayed the adhesive around the edges of the back, then smoothed the felt ends up and over. I used a couple of tacks at each corner to help hold the felt in place, but probably didn't need them.

Harry screwed them both into the wall for me. And Maia got straight to work with her chalks, and then her felt pieces. I haven't made any new felt pieces for her yet, but will soon. I think I'll start with some fall-themed cut-outs — maybe a tree, some leaves, pumpkins, etc.

I love this area and think (hope!) that it will get a lot of use over the next few years. It's still a work in progress. I need to figure out a place to keep chalk and felt pieces nearby — perhaps a bag or basket under each board. And I may add a corkboard strip or a wire above for displaying current artwork.

By the way, there are so many great felt board ideas out there. Thanks everyone for sending me links, especially Amber who was kind enough to send hers again after I lost the first e-mail! Here are a few:

Three Sneaky Bugs has a great step-by-step tutorial for making a framed felt board. She also has a post about making flower felt pieces.

What Caroline Says uses a flannel and felt combo and talks about using it as a storyboard.

Here's a portable felt board at A Little Hut.

Scrumdilly-do! has wonderful felt pieces that are embellished with fusible webbing and drawings.

Teaching Tiny Tots made a large felt board on foamcore and a few smaller ones (travel anyone?) on pizza boxes.

Did I miss any?

Oh, and there's even a felt board flickr group with more ideas. Bring on the felt!

A Painting with Running Commentary

Maia made an awesome painting at the easel a couple days ago. She started with lots of yellow, orange, and red tempera paint.

And later added some blue. She talked about what she was painting throughout the process:

I'm painting water for the fish. I'm painting different fish. I'm painting swimming fish and twirly fish. I'm painting jumping fish and swimming fish and hip hop fish and belly dancer fish and bunny rabbit fish. That's all I'm going to do. I'm painting tired fish.

She used a serious amount of paint (you can see it dripping down at the bottom), but the paper on the easel held up really well, even after it dried. I used a roll of paper from Discount School Supply that a friend gave me and it's thicker and more substantial than the Melissa & Doug paper that's made for this easel.

I love this painting. Maybe we'll hang it above the fall nature table.

a fall table and apple pie

It's starting to feel like fall here. The leaves are still green for the most part, but there are other signs. We've been to Hickory Nut Gap Farm to load up on apples, we've made an apple pie, I've planted a fall garden, and Maia's been collecting acorns like crazy, first at the Arboretum, then on a hike yesterday. She fills her pockets, my pockets, and Harry's pockets.

We needed to do something with our fall bounty and I've been wanting to make a seasonal table after reading about them in SouleMama's book and also in Earthways, a fun book of Waldorf seasonal activities and crafts. I imagined making something more like this, but for fall, and planned to put the apples in a bowl, stack the rocks like a little cairn (like these), etc, but Maia had her own ideas and very carefully arranged each item on the table.

I talked with her about the idea of a fall nature table ahead of time, and the colors and "things" of fall. I tried to steer her towards the orange or red playsilk, but she insisted on the green. And it looks great. It's actually very appropriate for early fall here (the trees are still green). I shouldn't be so set in my ideas! I should just rejoice that she took ownership of the concept and added her own special touches.

If I were really ambitious (I don't think I am this time), I'd make little waldorfy acorn people like these for the table. And I LOVE this fall tree puzzle!

Do any of you make seasonal nature tables? I'm so excited about the idea and all the possibilities for the different seasons!

suncatchers and cutting string

Boy does this kid like to cut string! I set out a ball of yarn, a pair of scissors, and a bowl the other day to keep her entertained while I did some sewing. I thought it would be good for about 5 or 10 minutes, but she kept at it for about an hour! She cut up various yarns and ribbons, each into their own bowl.

I suggested using the string for Con-Tact paper suncatchers, and set out pieces of Con-Tact paper for her to arrange the string and ribbon on. Here are the finished suncatchers:

a bed under the tree

We finally have Maia's new bed set up underneath her tree. So exciting for the kiddo! She took a nice long nap in it yesterday, although she mostly just wants to jump on it at other times. She's also excited about reading stories in her new bed and so we've been reading stacks of books while nestled under the covers together.

She's just pretending to be asleep here, with her pillow buddy next to her.

Next up on the room re-do plan — I want to make a chalkboard and a felt board to attach to one wall. For the chalkboard, I just got a piece of board that I'll paint with chalkboard paint. Now if I could just remember where I saw all those felt board ideas and tutorials…

Artful Ideas Around the Web

I haven't done this in a while, have I? To tell the truth, I haven't had as much time to read other blogs lately. But it was time to poke around and find some new ideas to try with Maia and to share with you. So here you go:

Let's Explore has a great activity for testing an art medium on different kinds of paper (and bubble wrap, tin foil, etc).

Here is one at Scrumdilly-do that I really want to try with Maia: pointillism with a variety of "points".

And, Make and Takes shows how they made glitter sand pictures. Since we're far from the beach, we might be doing this one in our backyard sandbox!

And, last but not least, Jojoebi of A Bit of This and a Bit of That made an awesome art portfolio book of her son's artwork a while back. I may have to copy her at some point. I've been making a photo book for (of) Maia each year using KodakGallery, and have included a few pics of her painting or drawing, but nothing dedicated to artwork like this one.

Turn Paintings into Thank You Cards

I cut down a few of Maia's paintings the other day to make her b-day thank you cards. I pasted them to colored construction paper, pressed them under some heavy books, then we sat down together to write the messages. She dictated them with plenty of leading on my part. "So, what do you want to say to Grandma? Do you want to say 'thank you for the book'?" Etc.

By the way, I've started adding a few long sleeve shirts to my etsy shop, including some polar bears and brown bears and some funny little aliens.