Sunday, November 30, 2008

One of the many reasons I love this time of year....

I love seeing all these books that have been packed away all year with the decorations.

Connecting with T1

T1 is almost 9 - he loves transportation, science and technology - he's mechanically minded. We get along great - he's an awesome kid but we don't have much in common. I'm the one who can comfort him the best, can eventually get him to talk about something that's bothering him and the one he'll snuggle with. His interests are his Dad and Grandpa's interests. I'm happy to listen to him chat about stuff he likes but I have little to offer on those subjects. Totally by accident I found something we both like to do and can do together..... jigsaw puzzles.
I started to do one the other day - I don't think I've ever worked on a puzzle other than kid ones and I found it surprisingly relaxing and enjoyable. I spend a little time and there and have it set up on the dining room table so whoever walks by can pause and add a piece if they wish. I was sitting at the table last weekend and T1 came over and was watching over my shoulder, then he pulled up a chair and before we knew it we were hanging out trying to complete a puzzle that is pretty hard with lots of sky and ocean. Now he'll sit and I'll join him or he'll hunt me down in the house and announce proudly that he has added a piece or two. It's nice to just hang out with no screen or gadgets and do something so simple while feeling so together.

Organized chaos

I can't work on projects tidily. This was once my dining room table....


I've been working on a couple mini gift projects.
I tried making a crayon holder for my little friend K.

My little friend G will be getting a cookie baking set - felt cookie dough & dough cut outs, cookie cutter, rolling pin, apron, oven mitt and 'baked' and decorated cookies with a cookie tray. I hope she likes it - sewing is not my strong point!!


Here are a couple of things we made last year...

I bought some candles in glass containers and we glitter glued on the glass.

We painted little flower pots and pine cones. When the paint was dry we added glitter glue to the pine cones.

O' Christmas Tree....

We usually wait until December 1 to trim our tree but figured it made more sense to do it on the weekend than a school night so here's T2's.

Here's mine - G needs to add the star for me.

.....and so it begins

Today we made a start with some holiday wrapping paper - using florist paper (large sheets of unprinted newspaper - I have a florist friend who passes loads to me that would usually be used to wrap travelling flowers - love freebies!!) I found some seasonal ink stamps and T2 got busy with those.

Next we tried some new rollers I picked up at the educational store. I might try to make some of my own eventually but I have too many things on the go right now.

T2 enjoyed rolling them so much that I had a hard time getting a picture.....

The rollers worked really well - I think they would work in play-doh too. When the creations are dry - they will be used to wrap gifts - I think they'll look extra special under the tree.

Spreading the cheer

I decided to make up a rhyme and print some snowman cards and get a giftless scret santa type thing going on in my street. We don't have many houses so it shouldn't be hard - I'm hoping everyone will participate. This is what the cards will say.....

'Tis the season
Snow is in the air.
It's time to show neighbours
How much you care.

Place this card in your window,
Display it with pride
For neighbours to see
As they pass by outside.

The remaining cards....
Well, here's what you do
Secretly deliver
To street name homes x 2

Let's spread some good will
And soon it will show
With a snowman card
In every window.

All street name families
Soon will know too
Their neighbours care about them
As we care about you.

Seasons Greetings.

We'll divide the cards (which I will print - enough for every house) into 8 bags - with one card attached to the front each bag. We'll get things started by delivering to 8 houses spread throughout the street and each of those families can take out their card and deliver the remaining cards to 2 homes who are not displaying a card in their window.

It should be interesting.

Friday, November 28, 2008

It's time...

...for Holiday Crafts. I love it that glitter is acceptable on anything at this time of year - shame that means glitter on floors, furniture, walls and pets! I am finishing up my list of crafts to do with T2 throughout December (T1 does not care much for crafts). This weekend I'll gather the necessary supplies and Sunday we'll start - yay - can't wait!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

'Fairy Palace'

Today, T2 asked if she could make a picture of a Fairy Palace. I cut out assorted palace-y shapes and she got busy with a vision and some glue...

This is her finished palace. I think this is the first time she has used collage to create something she has in her head.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What do you need for a Teddy Bear's Picnic?

T2 has a Teddy Bear's Picnic at school on Thursday and needs to take a bear with her. She's already selected her 'talkie bear' and wants me to record a message for him to say to her friends. Just as I was about to go to bed tonight, I remembered a bag of furry fabric I had in the basement and had an uncontrollable urge to make her a bear shirt to wear. I have practically zero sewing skills but I couldn't resist trying......
I've made the bear face and tomorrow will sew it to a shirt - I'm interested to see how it turns out. I figure if T2 recognizes it as a bear then that's all that counts!

I made a template by drawing around a bowl and 2 cups! (Not my choice of cereal for my kids - Daddy got sucked into buying it)

I cut it out of fur fabric, found some googly eyes, a cord from a pair of pants (I heat sealed the ends to avoid fraying) and a button for a nose. I made a bow and sewed that on. I glued the eyes and sewed on the nose and mouth.

I decided to glue the face onto the shirt with fabric glue. T2 is thrilled with it and can't wait to wear it tomorrow!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Unexpected Mom Time

T1 has recently been diagnosed with some challenges - one of which is a learning disability. He can read OK but writing is a real struggle. This great kid with an amazing brain cannot get his ideas down on paper due to a processing disorder. This is becoming a problem at school where so much focus is placed on written ability. We considered enrolling him in a multi-sensory reading program which would take him back to basics. The program was in a centre 30 minutes drive from our home. The recommendation was that he go 2-3 times each week. Not that our son isn't worth it but the time this would take and the cost made it hard to swallow. Yet we knew he needed the help.
I decided to train to teach the course myself - figuring we could do it at home and save both time and money and I would have a better understanding of what he was learning. Today I decided would be day 1 of the program. I knew ahead of time the idea would be negatively received. He's almost 9 years old and would rather be doing anything else rather than study.
I explained to him that we wanted to help make writing easier for him and he had two choices - either we could take him back and forth to the centre - a minimum two hour each time extravaganza or we could spend 15-20 minutes on Monday - Thursday and one day on the weekend. It didn't take him a second to choose the less time consuming option!!
After school we gathered everything we would need and sat down together to do the first 2 lessons of the program - I knew they would be really simple for him but would make for a positive first day.
It was nowhere close to the struggle I had envisioned - he sat without complaint (I chose to ignore the eye roll) and we worked together for about 20 minutes - it was calm and peaceful and I was able to enjoy watching his furrowed brow, his head scratching and eyes-to-the-ceiling thinking pose. He worked methodically - carefully correcting errors as he spotted them.
I was so proud to see him putting so much care into his work and although he didn't waste a second in leaving the table when the lessons were over - for a few moments, it was just me and my son, teacher and student. I would have thought it would be obvious who held which role but I think I was in many ways the student and he the teacher. I learned that all it takes is a few minutes and a commitment to work towards a common goal to carve out an opportunity for closeness.

A gift for Huds

T2 and I made a spontaneous gift for Huds the puppy's Christmas stocking (note to self - need an extra stocking this year). I had an old towel that we have been using to clean wet/muddy puppy paws when he comes inside. It is hard to hold him still and get the excited puppy paw to make contact with said towel. I decided to make a couple of mitts to help with the task.
I folded a towel in half and drew a mitten shape a bit bigger than my hand - using the existing finished edge of the towel as the opening edges of the mitt. I pinned it, tucking in a looped piece of ribbon before sewing around the edges (except for the opening). I was going to sew it and then turn it inside out to make it look neater but I didn't like the way it turned out so on my second attempt I just sewed around the edges and left it that way. Next I found a dog stamp and some fabric paint and let T2 decorate it. This will be a gift from her to Huds - although it's really a gift to me as I'm the floor mopper and clean paws mean less cleaning of floors!!

Christmas craft 1

Today, T2 and I made her a Christmas shirt. First I ironed a shirt, then painted her foot brown with fabric paint.... "ooh that's cold and it tickles"

Then we did one foot print on the shirt....

Then 2 hand prints......

Like this.....

Head and antlers

Eyes and nose

We just need to add a few details and 'connect' the antlers to the head with brown paint and we have Rudolph!!

Home made gift

I decided to make a puppet show for G - one of my favourite little girls. I had already made T2 a tension rod one which she loves but I wasn't 100% pleased with it plus we don't have many convenient doorways to hang it in our house. I decided to try a different approach and bought a tri-fold board from an office supply store (designed for displays/presentations). I haven't quite finished it yet but I'm pleased with it so far.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

'Tis the season to be.....


Watch this space - Christmas crafts are a coming.......

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A not-feeling-very-crafty-kind-of-day for T2

T2 is full of head cold today and not in a very happy mood. So not much happening around here today.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My creations

Tonight I tried making hair clips for the first time.
Today T2 made this from the felt scraps - it's a house and two sticks. This is the first time she has intentionally created something using collage.

My neighbour was clearing out some stuff her girls had outgrown (I love when she does that!!) and she dropped by with a huge collection of beads for T2. We already have lots of beads but you can never have too many!

T2 hasn't shown much interest before but seeing all the new ones meant she didn't need any encouragement to join me in stringing some.

Treasure rocks part 3

I finally added some pics of the treasure rock excavation.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Playful Clay update

I had decided that T2 and I would paint our playful clay creations after naptime today - I hadn't checked them in a couple of days as they were high on a playroom shelf out of reach of T1 & T2. Luckily I didn't mention to T2 that we would be doing this as the dried results were less than pleasing - all crumbly and brittle so it looks like we'll chalk that one up to a fun activity but with no long lasting sculpturistic (sure it's a word....ok it is now) results.

Now I am on the prowl - I need to find a simple dough recipe that hardens well - preferably without baking.
I was sorting through the basement and found a bag of shredded sparkly tissue paper that T2 and her friends had played with a few months ago - I was about to toss it out, then decided to have one last hurrah with T2 today.

Great for grabbing.....

'spaghetti scooping'



...tong grasping


It requires lots of concentration!

It can be quite messy -that doesn't bother me. Putting a mat, newspaper or towel under the table would make for easier clean up - just pick up the corners of the floor covering and shake all the paper into the garbage/recycling.


After my weekend 'baking' I had lots of oddments of felt - usually I'd toss them if they were really small but this time I used pinking sheers and cut them into shapes for T2 to use as collage material.

This is a city.

T2's cookie baking set - my sewing is pretty bad but I don't think she'll notice! I'll add a little cookie sheet and a rolling pin.

T2's mail - I'm going to make a little mail bag. The envelopes open so I'll make some little cards to go inside. They have her name and address on the front.

T2's new magnetic numbers. I was bored with her small store bought ones so I made some new ones with scrap booking paper, magnetic paper and clear contact paper. She loves them!

My weekend

We had a busy weekend - Huds the puppy had an event we needed to take him to. We are fostering him for Dog Guides Canada and our local mall wanted foster puppies at the mall to spread awareness of the organization and the foster puppy program. It was fun and Huds loved all the attention!

There were the typical errands, play times, meal times, laundry times, sleep times etc etc but I did carve out some time for a few projects of my own - baking, correspondence and number crunching. Why, you may wonder am I bothering to mention this - well, the baking didn't involve an oven, the correspondence didn't involve any paper or stamps and the number crunching didn't involve a calculator. You'll have to see why in my next post because I am going to bed!

Friday, November 14, 2008

More Friday Fun

OK, this is just too cool....

I was blog surfing and saw a craft called Rainbow in a bag over at Artful Parenting, which is a super cool blog.

Mix in a pot....
1 cup cornstarch
1/3-cup sugar
4 cups cold water

Heat stirring constantly.
Once it starts to thicken - remove from heat - it will resemble wall paper paste initially but as it cools, is more like Vaseline.

Divide between as many bowls as you have colours (food colouring). Add some food colouring to each bowl and mix. I chose primary colours only.
When it has cooled (I couldn't wait that long), scoop some of 2 or more of your goop into a ziploc bag (or similar - my eco conscience was able to justify using the bags as it's in the interest of education!!!).

Seal the bag and squish and squeeze to blend the colours - hold bags up to light (window in our case) to see the results in it's full coolness.

Is it odd that I am having so much fun with these and T2 is napping??? She'll love trying them out when she wakes up!