Thursday, October 17, 2013

100 Days of Tombow!

So I have a feeling that I'm probably past the 100 days mark of this marketing campaign. But hopefully the good people at Tombow will forgive me for that! I was contacted in May to ask if I'd like Holly's Arts and Crafts Corner to be a part of their campaign to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Tombow. I said yes and received the most wonderful box in the mail with these products in it:
I was excited to receive:
--Stamp Runner adhesive
--Dual Brush Pen Set, Groovy colors
--a set of the Irojiten Color Pencils, Woodlands colors

To be honest, I had no idea what I was going to do with these. The company just said create a project. They do have a blog and posts dedicated to the projects people came up with. There are some really beautiful things on there! But, it seemed like many of the people posting were scrapbookers. Or artists who really knew how to use and manipulate these products. I decided they must have looked through my blog before deciding to contact me. They should know that I mostly post my kids' projects. So I decided to stay with that idea, rather than go out of my element to create a project.

I thought about coming up with a nice project for my girls to do, but to be honest, I felt like it would be more fun and kind of an experiment to see what the girls came up with! They didn't have school today so I sat them down, gave them the supplies and told them the only rule was that they had to create something where they used ALL three types of products. I also asked them to really think about what they were going to make beforehand and to not rush through the project.

I was very pleasantly surprised with what they came up with! They both spent about an hour working on their project.

My 8 year old created a flower with a butterfly on it:

And my 10 year old created a tree silhouette with a sunset behind it:
My proud artists and their creations:
After they were done, I sort of interviewed them to see what they thought of the Tombow products when compared to our usual art supplies (Crayola and Mindware fine tip markers, and tape runners from Archivers or Michael's).

They LOVE LOVE LOVED the dual brush markers! They said they were so smooth and didn't tear up the paper at all while they were using them. They liked the unique colors for both the markers and colored pencils. Colors they don't usually get to use in their other sets. And the tape runner was a hit as well! They said it went on smoothly and you didn't have to press as hard as some of the other ones they've used. The dispenser itself seemed better quality as well. The adhesive didn't get gummed up on the side or go on wonky as some of the other tape runners we've used.

Though I haven't created any specific projects with these supplies....yet, I have used them to color in some of our wonderful Mindware coloring books and there is a marked difference in how they color compared to even Mindware's fine tip markers. I LOVED coloring with them! I believe we will be adding some of the other marker sets to our Christmas list this year.

Thanks Tombow for giving us these great supplies to play with! Happy 100th Anniversary!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Summer Recap: Independent Craftiness

Okay, so I admit it. We kind of got away from our weekly artist lessons this summer. I'm sort of bummed about this because I really enjoy doing those projects with the girls. But, this summer just kind of got away from us! It flew right by and before I knew it, they were heading back to school.

We had a great and fun summer! But I guess we just focused on other things. The girls summer bridge work in the mornings, we had books to read for a book club we were in together, not to mention minutes to read for there summer reading log on top of all that. So I guess we focused more on academics this summer instead of planned art activities. But the girls still did art camps at Kidcreate. They created fun things like these candy beach scenes!
Ha ha! Do you see the marshmallow people in the chairs? See one of them is pink? That's because that one is sunburned! LOL!
I did ask them to create some LegoQuest projects. In this one, they were asked to create an outdoor scene. I told them it could be anything, a park, ocean, whatever they wanted!
My ten year old's Arboretum complete with bridge, stream, and "path with lights on the side".
 LOVE the "No Picking" sign with the park security guard there. :-)
My 8 year old's beach scene complete with sand castle and person laying in the sand by the water.
But, honestly, what I think is one of the neatest things about this summer is that our art room was used ALL the time! Just not for projects I was leading. The kids, all three of them, just went up there whenever they wanted and created things. They came up with their own projects, figured out what they needed for them, sat down, and produced some fun and amazing things!

My three year old just sat down one night (hence the yucky red light and terrible iphone photos!) and did his own thing. It was so fun to watch!
And this is what he created, his first artwork all on his own!
I think it should be entitled "Alien Spaceship". He couldn't verbalize to me exactly what he was making, but in watching him, it was very purposeful. And here is the aftermath of his creating. ;-)
My younger daughter crafted this owl pillow completely on her own:
Also, this beautiful chalk wall on the side of our garage:
A wrapping paper version of herself on her bedroom wall:
And a plan for a birdhouse (she is getting a kit to make one for her birthday in a few weeks):

My 10 year old daughter was also inspired this summer and created this winter fairy garden based on a project she found in our Jumbo Book of Outdoor Art book:
She also created this Minion ipod holder out of duct tape:
And just a couple other fun random creations from the summer:
Lily made a little fort/tent for her and Kellan to play under. It included a "tv" as well. She hung the iPad from the back of the couch. :-)
 And a wine cork person just for the fun of it.

I'm sort of proud that I have set the foundation for my children to find the supplies they need and just create to their heart's content. It makes me so happy to see them inspired by so many things and even though I missed doing our projects together, it was almost better to leave them be and see what they came up with on their own!

The Rainbow Loom Phenomenon

We had never heard of Rainbow Loom before the middle of August. Then, all of sudden within two days, we had heard about it AND received one as a gift. And now, my girls are somewhat obsessed (and admittedly, so am I!).

Just in case you don't happen to have a tween girl or boy living with you and have missed the news stories about this latest friendship bracelet craze, Rainbow Loom is a plastic loom with three rows of spokes. You place small rubber bands (that are non-latex--in case your child has a latex allergy) in a certain pattern on the loom and then flip them in half to "knit" the pattern together. Pull it off, add a plastic clip, and voila, you have bracelet!

There is a TERRIFIC post over at the Teach Mama blog discussing all the reasons that Rainbow Loom is amazing aside from the sheer entertainment factor. It is math-skill building, reading skill-building, fine-motor skill building, relationship-building, and confidence building all in one fun activity!

There are a ton of patterns you can create and a million you tube videos made by girls your daughters' age demonstrating how to do each pattern. You can start off super simple and do increasingly harder patterns as you get more acclimated to using the hook.

These can be purchased at Michael's, Amazon, and many independent small toy stores. I also LOVE that this was created by a family who run their business out of their house. And when they made the deal to have their loom in Michael's they stipulated that no coupons could be used so that Michael's wouldn't be competing with the small mom and pop stores that got the Rainbow Loom craze started in the first place. Awesome!

I REALLY like this activity for my kids for all the reasons stated in the Teach Mama blog, but especially like it for my older daughter who has a tough time with sequencing and motor planning. It is a great exercise for her to have to think through and execute all the steps. I could see this being a great tool for speech or occupational therapy!

We spent our morning together working on these fun bracelets:
My younger daughter created the "triple single" bracelet on the top and we added a cute plastic button in the middle. You can get these fun buttons at Micheal's in a variety of themes. There are several in a pack for less than $2.

My older daughter decided to tackle the more advanced "starburst" bracelet today. She tried this on her own last night, but just couldn't pull them through in the right order. Because I know she struggles with motor planning, I told her it might be a good idea to use a different color band around the starburst for her first bracelet in this style. That way she would always know what color she had to pull through, and not have to worry about the order so much. This tip helped her tremendously and she was able to complete the bracelet all on her own!

I predict this will be one of the most popular gifts for Christmas this year! Correct me if I'm wrong. ;-)

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Art & Science Collide: Watercolor Salt Paintings

We actually created this project months ago. The girls had a no school day back in February and I kept them busy with art projects that day. One of them was watercolor salt paintings! This is a relatively easy project to do and the girls really seemed to enjoy it! It would be a short quick-drying project to do as a birthday craft as well.

What you need:
--watercolors (I like liquid watercolors, I think they are much more vibrant)
--table salt
--watercolor paper
--blue painters tape (optional)
Start by having the kids block off a design on the watercolor paper with the blue tape.
Here are their taped off designs:
Then just fill in a section with watercolor paint. We found being liberal with the paint/liquid worked best. After doing a small section, sprinkle a little salt on the paint and move on repeating the process in the next area.

And here are the finished wet paintings with the tape still on:

My nine year old's:
 My seven year old's:
 Here is the one I made. :-)
 And here they are with the tape removed:

 And just for fun, here's a close-up:
This was a really fun project because not only is it artistic, but scientific too! I explained to them about how salt is a dessicant and sucks up the water/liquid. They thought this was such a neat thing to see! You can see the speckling happen as it dries.

Once the projects are dry, just remove the tape, brush the salt away and enjoy your beautiful artwork!