Sunday, 30 September 2012

drawing to music

So many of my smiles start with our kids. They constantly surprise me. Today M has been enjoying dancing and pottering in her room listening to music. One of her favourite songs ( and mine) is ' Someone that I used to know ' by Goyte. She's just bought me this picture of the lead singer. She drew it while listening to the song and remembering the music video she's watched with me. Precious.

Friday, 28 September 2012

a rain stick

I've seen these on my web wanderings so when a very thick cardboard tube found its way to our house I knew exactly what to do with it. Make a rain stick.

Rain sticks are actually traditional instruments in many cultures. The Diaguita people from Chili made them from dried cactus filled with pebbles. When they rattled the pebbles, it sounded like rain falling, which was supposed to remind the forgetful rain gods to make it rain.

1) T ( loved!) helping me hammer in nails along the length of the tube and all around it, there's a picture below of how it looks from the inside once you've done this. Use nails that are short enough to not go right through the other side of the tube (you could use longer ones hammered in on an angle if that's all you had available). The nails help slow down the things you put inside later. 

2) We closed off one end of the tube by covering it with paper and thick sellotape, we also covered the rest of the tube with paper and used clear glue to attach feathers and other bits we had in our drawer. We put on some sticky dots too.

3) After it dried I covered the whole thing in clear book cover to help keep everything attached. 

4) In the open end of the tube we poured in 1 cup of buttons. We used buttons because the tube we used was quite wide and long, we would've needed heeeepas of rice which is a waste. You could use anything small and hard like marbles, chick peas, lentils, macaroni, buttons, rice etc- I guess it depends on the size of tube you're using.

5) Cover over and seal up the open tube end.

6) Tip the tube up and listen to the contents fall down to the other end- does it sound like rain?


Thursday, 27 September 2012

drawing - this is so fun

I got this idea from an American Art Teacher's blog http://artmommie.blogspot.co.nz.

You just select and cut out a picture from a magazine. Glue it to a sheet of white paper and then talk about the image, for example for the Rhino one I asked M where do Rhinos live? What does that place look like? She then drew grass and trees.  Is it hot or cold there? She drew a sun. What do Rhinos eat? She drew a pile of straw and then, her own idea, a baby rhino- so adorable.

For T's I asked him where do kiwis and owls live? What do you think the owl could be sitting on? He drew a branch. What time of day do you think it is in the picture? (and why). What could you draw in the sky to show that it's night time? He drew 'darkness' and I love that he drew both a full and crescent moon. When we talked about the kiwi he drew it hiding in a bush and said " ssssshhhhhhh, you have to be very quiet around kiwis"- I love him so much.

I let them draw the second pictures out for themselves (with much less discussion). M drew flowers and a beehive hanging from a tree and T drew a water bowl, food bowl and a kennel for the dog.

This was brilliant fun for all of us ( I could listen to that sort of engaged, creative chatter from them all day ) so we'll definitely be doing it again.

Love that she copied the mum's tail shape for the baby
Full and crescent moon in the left corner
Kiwis hide in bushes
This dog has all that it needs! : )
Bees, flowers and a beehive (with honey in it)

Tuesday, 25 September 2012


A post for grown ups!

vignette, pron [vin-yet] - “any small, pleasing picture or view”.  

You can't open a magazine without seeing a vignette or a thousand. I recently discovered this term so, if I wanted to, I could use a fancy word to describe the 'groups of things' I have always liked to have dotted around our house. Some may see vignettes as being constrained and a bit pretentious but mine aren't made with expensive things, they're personal, give a little snap shots of our family and most importantly, I enjoy putting them together. They probably still look like random groups of things to others- I guess it depends on how you see things- or if you even look : ). As you can see in the links below, it's a real art form for the serious designery types.

Here's some what we could now refer to as vignettes that just happened to be around our home. I like that I can change them (which I often do). I like that the kids contribute to them all of the time aswell. Some of our vignettes have come from me wanting to create order or define storage spaces.

creating a vignette expert tips:


Here's some I found in the www that I love, a google image search will take you to the source of each. I am SO looking forward to our house being fixed and crack free!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

beetroot coloured icing

I wanted to take something to a play date for afternoon tea last week so made a cake and took half. The kids have been going to lots of birthday parties lately and eating copious amounts of party food. It's got me thinking about food colouring ( as did our bread painting activity last week) so I decided to try out using beetroot juice to colour the cake and icing. The cake batter was a promising pink uncooked but it came out yellowy when baked. The icing however came out a gorgeous colour and it's not at all 'beetrooty' tasting. I got a little bit of wicked satisfaction knowing my kids were happily eating beetroot juice too.

We always have a tin beetroot in the cupboard/ fridge and also grow it in our vege patch so I'll be doing this again.

Where do you buy 'natural' food colouring from?

lovely pink beetroot icing

yes topped with artifically coloured sprinkles- but we're taking this in baby steps people!

Monday, 17 September 2012

birthday cakes

I volunteered to make my friend's boy's 2nd birthday cake- any excuse as far as I'm concerned. It wasn't perfect but lots of fun to make and the birthday boy liked it : ).

It's two round cakes cut to shape. I used the dragon cake instructions below and google images of a stegosaurus as a 'kind of' guide. I did a crumb layer which really did help when putting on the vienna cream icing it so will be doing that again in future.

The 'dirt' is crushed malt biscuits and a kinder surprise dinosaur egg. The 'plates' are feijoa lollies- I wanted to use spearmint leaves but typically, couldn't find any when I needed them.

The big white cake tile the dinosaur is sitting on was left over from the husband's 'Warriors' birthday cake made by https://www.facebook.com/sugarbabycakerynz. They make incredible cakes and really yummy 'cake in a jar'. If you have a special event coming up they're well worth a look.

I came across a great 'how to' home made cake website recently too,  61 kid's cake designs. I love the bird house and the boy has now asked if he could have a fish tank cake for his birthday- fun ( especially since he's getting a fish tank and some fish for his birthday)  http://www.parenting.com/birthday-cakes


Sunday, 16 September 2012

egg carton owls

I found this via this online magazine http://smallmagazine.typepad.com. I'd like to go into my kid's pre school one day and do a little art project with their room and I'm thinking this is a contender. Their logo is an owl.

cut eyes
half a carton top, shape the wing tips and feet
push eyes in the top pf the body part ( I put loops of tape on the back)
hoot hoot!

Friday, 14 September 2012

painted bread

Before I start, this is not something we'd do every morning ( people get all upset about kids eating food colouring and probably for good reason), we had already eaten a healthy breakfast and as a rule we don't have white bread in the house... , there, I feel better now : )

1. Pour a small amount milk into sections of an ice cube tray
2. Colour the sections
3. Paint the white bread
4. Toast the bread
5. Add butter
6. Eat!
these are $4 at Countdown and have a handy dropper type bottle
coloured milk

Mum on toast