August 16, 2014

Easy Relief Printmaking

This is a bit of a flashback. These pictures have been hiding on my computer for about a year now. These simple prints graced the covers of Isia's thank you's for her fourth birthday- and she just turned five. So sometimes it takes awhile for our final projects to get posted on here, but that doesn't make this project any less fun (smile). It was a favorite with my middle school kids, and Isia- who was still a preschooler- loved it too!

Easy Relief Printmaking
Start with cutting the edges of a styrofoam tray, like this one that held broccoli. 

Easy Relief Printmaking
Trace a similar-sized drawing onto your styrofoam using a ball-point pen. Once it's traced, go over your lines one more time to make sure they're nice and deep. The deeper they are, the easier your picture will be to see!
Easy Relief Printmaking
Roll a smidge of printing ink onto a printing plate. We use small piece of plexiglass (left over from one of my art projects), but any non-porous surface would do like a linoleum tile, a non-food tray, etc. 

Easy Relief Printmaking
Then roll your ink onto your plate, making sure it's covered in a even, thin layer. 

Easy Relief Printmaking
Then make your prints! First, place your printing plate (the fancy art term for your styrofoam tray) ink-side down on your paper. Carefully turn it over and rub the backside of your paper with the back of a wooden spoon (or something else hard). Turn it back over, lift up your plate and voila! Now get ready to print again, sometimes you can get a few prints before it needs a re-inking. These prints were made on computer paper, but we've also printed on folded cardstock (for quick cards), rice papers, and other art papers too. You can even print on newspaper! It won't be archival, but it'll be just as fun.  


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Mono-printing










August 15, 2014

Create (A Moment)

"A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember." 
(words and inspiration via Soulemama.com)
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Create (A Moment)



August 11, 2014

Rainbow Collage

Hello from the land of Kindergarten! As I’ve shared this summer, I was really having trouble with the idea of sending Isia to Kindergarten. While I love our local elementary school, I knew that I would miss our time together. So I kept praying about it, but I couldn’t find peace. Thinking it was in her best interests, we even attended Kindergarten Roundup and got her signed up. But still, I didn’t have peace about it. I kept debating it over in my mind, trying to talk myself out of homeschooling her. Then I asked myself, Why? Why was I talking myself out of it? And I realized that yes, I really did want to keep her home and continue this wonderful learning journey together. Of course I had to call the elementary school and withdraw her, which was one of the hardest parts- because then we would be "committed." But I finally did, and now we are!

Rainbow Collage
Rainbow Collage
(Because homeschool kids deserve a first day picture too)
Everybody has their own reasons for choosing to homeschool. The components that appeal to me most are the flexibility of the schedule (especially with a new baby arriving soon!), quality time with siblings, unscheduled eating (she's a grazer like her Mama), and lots of time for playing outside. Now if I was going back to teaching, there would be no question of sending her to school. But since I have the gift of another year home, I want us to spend this time together. And I’m excited for what we’re all going to learn with a new baby in the house. When Billy arrived she was a tender two years old, and doesn’t remember a time without him. She’s five years old now, and remembering more all the time (even more than I would probably like sometimes, ahem). So I’m hoping that this time will make a bit of an impression on her, and on Billy too, for when they’re ready to start their own families. 

Anyways, back to homeschooling! Part of starting this school year together, has been reviewing projects from last year. Including this rainbow collage:
Rainbow Collage
It took a long time to complete, but we're both happy with the result! She had a lot of fun raiding our collage bin for the different colors. They're hard to see, but I did draw some guidelines for her to glue each color into. However, they were definitely loose guidelines- and I love how the orange is ignoring them altogether (smile). 


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Rainbow Collage

August 5, 2014

Creative T-Shirt Upcycle

As summer continues going strong, it’s time to give some of our summer shirts a second life. Shirts don’t have an easy time around here- they get rolled in the dirt, mud, drenched in bubble solution, and dribbled with barbeque sauce. It’s a fun life, but it doesn’t always leave them looking their best by this time of year! So I’ve found a quick way to give them a second chance at all the fun- Dying them. While we often dye batches of clothes one solid color, you can get great designs with just a couple rubber-bands.

T-Shirt Upcycle
For these t-shirts, we just made simple circles. Here's how you do it: Find the middle of the shirt (or off-center, if that's how you roll), and pick the shirt up off the table. Smooth the t-shirt down into a coil then, starting at the top, wrap your large rubber-band around it at various intervals. You can also use multiple rubber-bands for an even cleaner look, but large was all we had (smile). Prepare your dye bath in the washer (I'm a loyal Rit dye user, this one is Rit in Royal Blue) according to the package directions and submerge your garments. Let them sit, checking them periodically to see if you like the color (or forget about them and leave them overnight, ahem). Once you're satisfied, let the cycle run and rinse.After having clothes bleed in the past, I always run an extra rinse cycle for good measure. I then unwrap my rubber-bands before throwing them in the dryer. 

T-shirt Upcycling
T-shirt Upcycling
Here are the final results. Didn't they turn out great? And they've already been worn a couple times already- a sign of success around here! 

*I also run a bleach cycle after a dying session- a great time to whiten some towels and clean the dye residue off my washer. Sometimes there's still some staining left after that, but I've always had it wear off in time without affecting future clothes. Dying in buckets, or on the stove-top, are always great options too. 

*Find more Creative Learning Ideas on our Facebook page & Pinterest boards.
Thanks for visiting!

T-Shirt Upcycling