Creative Crafts ~ Bleach Painting

 Cheap, instant, magical … bleach painting adds a stunning creative touch to clothes!Kate's art2 Nadene Oct

Some bleach painting tips:

  • Always test on a scrap of similar fabric or on a part of the garment where the bleach effect can be tested but not seen (like inside a seam or on a hem).  Most dyes leave a trace color after the bleach has worked.  Some fabrics are extremely color-fast and do not bleach out.
  • Work on a plastic sheet and newsprint.  I bleached my skirt over a covered ironing board.  Place a plastic sheet or plastic packet inside a shirt so that the bleach doesn’t bleed through to the other side.
  • You can use basic domestic liquid bleach and a waterpaint paint brush.  You can also use water brushes and even simple ear buds/ Q-tips!
  • You can paint bleach on to stamps and press the stamp onto the fabric.
  • Plan your design on your garment with a chalk pencil or fading fabric markers.
  • I found great simple designs on Pinterest.
  • Stencil designs work well too!
  • Note – the bleach is invisible at first, but within a moment or two begins to fade the fabric.  If you paint over a bleached area after it has dried it may go even lighter!  I loved the magical appearance of the design a few seconds later!
  • Caution – some fabrics become fragile under bleach.  Hand wash carefully.
  • Caution 2 – wear protective clothing when working with bleach.
  • This is an excellent activity for middle-school children and teens.  Ask them to bring an old colored T-shirt to class and provide small cups of bleach and Q-tips for them to paint and design patterns and images on their shirts.
  • You can spray bleach with a fine misting bottle over a stencil or design pasted onto the material.  Some folks use freezer paper.  Lettering or a simple cut out design works well.

Bleach painting is addictive!  You may find good reasons or no reasons at all to bleach paint a huge number of your clothes!  Stop before your wardrobe looks like it fell into a bleach fountain!

Have some creative fun this festive season!

Blessings

Creative Crafts ~ French Patio Ideas

I recently created some wonderful crafty decor for our patio in French Provence style.

Bunting always creates a festive atmosphere!

Using unbleached calico I made some French Style Bunting with fabric painted details ~ use the free stencil download below for ideas).  Baste the triangle pieces edge-to-edge on wide ribbon and then fold the ribbon over and serpentine stitch the ribbon to cover the top of the bunting.  (Remember to add at least 1m of ribbon to either end of your bunting to use to knot over poles or around trees.)

French patio1

My daughter and I created a Printed Table Runner.  Pop over to my Project Page for the tutorial.

French patio

I painted some patio cushion covers for my bench and wicker chairs.

French patio2

Lastly I hung a few lanterns on blue ribbon over the table for some ambient light and intimacy.

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A week of creative fun transformed my patio into a festive French-styled outdoor area.

For some French Provence stencil ideas here is a free download ~ Provence patio stencil ideas

Blessings

 

How to Fit in Creative Hands-on Ideas

Commenting on my recent post “Make Memories with Hands-on Activities” a reader asked ~

How do you do it all and where do you get all your creative ideas from?”

As many other readers may wonder and ask similar questions, I thought I would answer in a full post.

Firstly, I DON’T “do it all”!  I think this post may describe my failings and fears of not getting it all done!  But here are a few simple strategies to plan and add hands-on activities and to create fun learning opportunities in our homeschooling experiences.

1.  Plan it 

Start with your year plan or the book index.  Look over all the main topics and themes in the schedule that may provide interesting activities and highlight them.  Add a few days to a week, or even longer for your activities, depending on the activity.  Usually I source (or create) a lapbook and a few quick hands-on activities for each theme.  We don’t always do them all, but I like to have some options planned.

Essentially I extend our 1-year schedule to 18 months or even 2 years.  I have NEVER regretted taking our time with extra hands-on activities, but have always regretted rushing on when there was still a sparkle of interest and enjoyment.  None on my children have ever fallen behind academically.  Carry on with the 3’Rs (Maths, Spelling, Phonics/Reading, Handwriting) according to their normal grade schedules and simply extend your core.  At first, you may feel anxious, but don’t worry.  You will find your rhythm and flow.

2. Pinterest  Pinterest Homeschool

Where did I find my ideas?  In my early years, I simply Googled the topics and themes for projects, plans, ideas and activities.  These days, Pinterest is a fantastic resource!  Type in your search topic and pin away! (Here are my Homeschool, Art, Famous Artists, Bible, Nature, Maths, English, Printables and Science boards.)

Practical Tip:  

While I search, I use Microsoft OneNote (here’s an online tutorial) to collect all my ideas so that I can work with them offline. Other folk swear by Evernote.  (Read the comparison between them here and here. ) OneNoteWhatever works for you is fine! 

I love OneNote because I can easily create tabbed notebooks and sub-tabbed pages.  OneNote automatically adds link and web addresses whenever you copy text or images.  I especially like the screen clip insertions as it gives me quick visuals of my searches.  OneNote  allows you to attach files, pages and portions from the Internet to the notepage, so everything is in one place and saved automatically. Later, I play around with my Internet finds and create my projects and pages.

3. Print & Prepare

After collecting my hands-on activity ideas, I create my pages and then print everything out and prepare the work.  After many years of homeschooling I have found all these time-saving tips for doing lapbooks that really work. We save time and avoid much frustration if we cut, fold and pack all the minibooks and store them in Ziplock bags, or better still, paste all the minibooks into the file folders ready for our lapbook sessions.  I file my lapbook planner with the index page and notes, all ready to whip out when we need them.

4. Promote it

Usually our hands-on activities are the best part of our theme.  My kids love to know what hands-on activities they will do with each new theme or topic. Introducing a theme with a hands-on activity is so stimulating!  But if we need to first do read alouds, narrations and notes, then the hands-on activity is a wonderful reward to complete the work.  If interest flags, or kids are tired, sick or unmotivated, hands-on activities revives our days.

5. Provide options  Science experiments2

Children have unique interests and learning styles.  I find that younger children need more physical activities, while older kids may prefer creative activities. One of my children is very shy, while the other loves to act out scenes and present puppet shows and speeches.  One is very visual, while the other loves listening.  One is very left-brained and logical, the other very fluid and right-brained.  Find activities that serve the individuals as well as the group.  Co-op with other families for added hands-on excitement!

When teaching several children together, (and I highly recommend moms combine their close-aged children on the same core) it is good to have options and allow the kids choose what activity they would prefer to do.  My kids notebook in individual ways, uniquely combining notebook pages with their minibooks, and I try to create pages and projects that are open-ended and flexible.

Many of our activities have started with an idea which the kids developed and fulfilled in ways that I did not necessarily anticipate.  The more I homeschool, the more I realize that my kids love to take an idea and run with it!  I am often simply a facilitator!  More and more, I am learning to let go and allow my kids to lead & take charge of their learning experience.

Whether your hands-on activities are “extras” or essentials in your homeschooling, please plan time for them, take your time and enjoy these homeschool moments!

Blessings,

 

DIY Folded Paper Boxes

My youngest daughter wanted to sort and classify her sea shell collection.  This was a great Nature Study and Science activity, but we needed several smallish boxes to store the different shell types.  She displayed her shell collection on our Nature Study tray.

6-Nature study1

We quickly made these paper boxes.

The nifty, practical aspects of these folded paper boxes are:

  • You can make them in different sizes … so they can nest in each other or form a top and a base to close your box!
  • The boxes can easily be stored flat, unfolded and ready for the next occasion.
  • You can use decorative craft paper or card stock for really pretty gift boxes or display boxes.

Here are the instructions and a free downloadFolded Paper Boxes

You will need:

  • square paper or card stock 28cm X 28cm
  • scissors
  • glue/ cellotape/ stapler

Fold your paper:

  • Fold the square horizontally in half & re-open.
  • Fold the square vertically in half & re-open.
  • Fold the bottom left corner and the top right corner to the center of the square, forming opposite triangles.Paper box 1
  • Fold both the newly made folds to the middle & re-open these folds.

Paper box 2

  • Cut along all 4 of the new fold lines, from the paper edge up to the edges of the triangles.Paper box 3
  • Take the top left corner and the bottom right corner and fold the corners into the center.Paper box 4
  • Fold again in half, so that the last fold is at the end of the cut lines.
  • Fold all 4 pointed strips to form folds in line with the 2 middle double folded pieces.Paper box 5

Assemble your paper box:

  • Fold the pointed flaps around the outside of the 2 center folds.
  • Insert the corners of the center folded piece into the diagonal fold of the flap. This part is a little fiddly, so mom, you may have to help here!Paper box 6
  • Tape/ glue or staple the outside overlapping flaps to the box.

Enjoy this craft project!

Blessings,

Add Variety

Variety adds “spice” to life …

and different approaches are good tools to enhanced learning!

This is especially true when a child struggles, stresses or stagnates in learning skills.

Spelling and maths tables, bonds and drills are common problem subjects in many children’s schooling, and despite diligent effort, they may still struggle to master new and difficult skills.

When this happens, look for some new tools or methods and to try to involve as many senses as possible.

Movement is often a great method to apply in Maths.  We use these for tables and bonds or reviews:

  • skip with a rope calling out the skip counting or times tables  
  • jump on a mini trampoline
  • jump up a flight of stairs, one step at a time, if the answer is correct, back if incorrect
  • clap hands as partners to tables

    This is a great idea to add to ‘blank’ trampolines – excellent for directionality and spatial awareness

  • bounce and catch a beach ball – on floor/ against a wall/ with mom or sibling
  • hop on one leg

With spelling, try a variety of objects:

  • Bananagrams
  • Scrabble tiles
  • magnetic letters on the fridge
  • white board
  • trace in flour/ rice/ small lentils on a tray
  • trace letters on a sealed Ziploc bag filled with colored pudding (and enjoy eating it afterwards)
  • play-dough letters
  • foam letters – print out spelling
  • physically forming the letter shape with their body and a rope or stick.

Review or re-wind previous lessons with a different approach.

Use arrows, directions and obstacle courses, play “Twister” to amplify Geography skills.

When your child starts school after a long break, try  a physical, musical workout and make it energetic fun.

Music, songs and rap are excellent for spelling or learning off by heart.  Add some cool moves which amplify meaning to add to the impact of the learning experience. My kids still remember their Geography Songs CD!

Do school in a different room or place or in a  new environment. Sit under the table, stand on the table, go outside, or lie on the floor.  Try to learn in a darkened room and encourage the child to print “mental visual images” in their minds.

Despite variety being fun, it activates different centers in the brain and facilitates neural links and connections.

When a child really continues to struggle, I  encourage you to take you child to an occupational or remedial therapist.  Apart from correctly assessing where the problem may lie, they have a massive repertoire of games, activities and approaches which you can use at home.  They have mastered the art of using games to teach and reinforce skills.

Lastly, although iPad and Smartphone apps and computer games promote interactive learning, research has shown that screens and flashing imagery does not necessarily enhance learning as much as real life, physical, sensory experiences do.

Teach new skills in new ways to add to the impact of the lesson. Find your child’s learning style and work that into your teaching style.

Laugh and have fun.

What novel ways have you used to teach or reinforce lessons?  Please share with other readers in the comments.

Blessings,

Fun History!

What a shock my kids had when I walked into the room like this!

(Excuse the slightly blurred photo.  My 10-year-old was giggling too much to focus the camera properly!)

It was a great way to introduce the British Occupation at the Cape and the 1820 British Settlers for our Footprints On Our Land history curriculum.

All Miss.L10’s narrations were done with the mask and a most ‘proper’ British accent!

(And lots of giggles from Miss.K13 studying in the background!)

Some novelty and fun makes History fresh and exciting!

Hope you and your kids have fun now and then!

Blessings,

Corn Starch Clay Decorations

Thanks to Pinterest I have discovered some wonderful ‘new’ recipes!

           This lovely baker’s clay from woodsidekitchen.blogspot.com is cheap and simple to make,

smooth and easy to work with,

 comes out the oven white and hard,

and looks pretty even un-painted!

We used our normal play-dough cutters,

and I gave the girls our rubber stamps to use for texture and embossed designs.

Fun!

Here’s the recipe:

1/2 Cup Corn Starch

1 Cup Bicarbonate of Soda

3/4 Cup Water

* Mix all ingredients together in a pot.

* Stir over heat until the mixture thickens and resembles thick mashed potatoes (really!)

* Remove from the stove and place as a ball in a bowl and cover with a damp cloth until it cools.

* Roll out, cut, shape and decorate.

* To make the holes we used a drinking straw – press down, twist, and lift, then blow out the little centre into your hand to re-use the with the scraps.

* Bake@ 180○ C for about 10 minutes or until firm and hard.

* Cool and paint, varnish, or enjoy as is.

Great for Xmas decorations, place-name settings, gift tags and gift embellishments.

Give it a try!

Blessings,