Art is where you make it!

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art is anywhere you want it

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I did all my stupid stuff before the internet!

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As we move away from retail selling and further toward programs and classes, I find myself constantly trying to update my website, my ebay store, my listings on various sites and so on.  It’s been daunting to say the least!   I just didn’t realize how exposed we are online as a company (and how much more so as an individual!). “Exposed” is the right word, too, not “available”, not “visible”, but exposed.

I mulled all this over as I considered the high profile names and events in online “stories” exposed this past year or so.  The timing couldn’t have been better when I saw this pic shared by a friend and it truly resonated.  At first, a cute funny that I then shared to my personal FB timeline, giggling about my age as I approach my birthday in a couple of weeks.  But after some consideration I decided:  I am eternally grateful that, being over 40, I did my most stupid stuff before the internet!

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Naturally, all this has got me thinking (panicking, really) about just how available I’ve made myself and my family online.   “I’m nowhere near as available online as others!” I justified.  It was that thought that lead to a plethora of concerns and anxiety about online safety.  The idea that anyone in the entire world can see what I post, no matter how careful I am not to call any of the kids by their “real” name, not to mention where we are and so on was overwhelming.  I did what the lady in the pic did and sipped a coffee to calm my nerves.

In the end, I’ve decided that with billions of other fish in the online sea, I am still one of the least interesting people, therefore, I am still relatively anonymous and, therefore, “safe” enough.

What do you think; how exposed are you online?

Until next time:  Inspire…Imagine…Invent!

Sssssuper Ssssssnakess!

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We are so fortunate to live in a small town. Our local library are staffed by top notch, professional and friendly educators. They are tasked with running a variety of awesome programs every summer to delight hundreds of children in our community. My favourite event is their annual expo in Council Chambers at our township office.

This week we enjoyed a visit from Scales Nature Parkwho brought some of their friends to entertain us all with their reptile show!!

Gleeful D-man!

Fortunately, I’m neither squeamish, nor easily rattled; and I love animals of all walks and slithers, so this was right up my alley.

Black Rat Snake (Largest breed of snake in Canada; up to 2 m long!)

Originally, I recorded all sorts of awesome details about snakes and reptiles. I found the “lecture” portion a bit dry and definitely not kid-friendly, and planned on re-hashing the information back at the studio. But, then I thought: “heck no, it’s summer!”
Instead, we talked about our own impressions of the reptile world before and after the show and did it change. Then we painted our favourite reptile.
Our favourite fun fact was that there is only ONE breed of snake in Canada who is venomous and that they are actually quite rare in “populated” areas. And that snake is the Massassauga Rattler.

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Until next time: Inspire…Imagine…Invent!

Rain, rain, go away

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Rain, rain, go away

Its always a challenge when your projects need an element of nature and she won’t cooperate! Today we tried doing sun prints………in the rain!

Sun prints (maybe these are “faux” sun prints) are beautiful art that can be used for a variety of finished items; from wall hangings to pillowcases to clothing and more. Similar to glue batik, which we did last summer, the focal point of this art project is the negative impression left on the fabric and not the paint you apply! I saw this in a recent Crafty Crow feature of Craftiments and being eco week it’s a natural fit. These are some of our results.

This project will need about an hour of total work time, plus a few hours for drying and setting. It will work best on a nice sunny day; just do yourself a favour and check the forecast as I forgot to do!
Here is your list of supplies to gather:

  • Cotton fabric, size will vary depending on your enthusiasm
  • Acrylic paints in a variety of colours (darker colours show the negative impression most clearly)
  • Paint brushes
  • Collected nature “stuff” (or household stuff or whatever!)
  • Water/paint mixing tubs (we used empty margarine tubs)
  • Sunshine or dry high heat source, such as a clothes dryer
  • A place to work where stray paint and outdoor debris won’t cause a fit in a clean conscious grown up (we opted for the backyard)

The place to start is a nature walk. Get kids connected to nature. We have a pond and marshy area within walking distance, so that’s where we headed first. After a quick reminder about staying clear of wild plants and animals we are unfamiliar with, safety near water and establishing buddies, we set out gathering a collection of plants, leaves, rocks and unique stuff that we found interesting. Based on advice in the original tutorial, we collected many things that can be pressed flat for maximum “wow” factor.

Time to start the art process! Mix multiple paints individually in tubs with equal amounts of water and set these aside. (A 1:1 ratio will work best.) Next, soak your cotton “canvas” in water and lay it flat where you will be working. We found the lawn too bumpy and pulled out a work table. We don’t need to protect our tables from paint, but if you do, cover it with a tarp, garbage bag or vinyl tablecloth before starting.

The cloth should be saturated but not dripping when you lay it out. It also needs to stay wet while you work, for best results, so maybe keep a spray bottle near to spritz the cloth.

Now, using paint brushes, paint bold swathes of different colours, shapes and patterns on your cloth with the watered down paint. This will be the positive impression (added colour/shade). Try to cover the whole cloth. The point here is that you are creating a background, so get your creative on and try something different!

Next, working relatively quickly, start laying your nature items on the cloth. Be as random or organized as you wish here! The key is to get the items as “stuck” as possible in the excess wetness for a sharp impression. Laying lightly will still give you a result, but the objects won’t be as clear. You can use more of your paint, particularly around the edges, to assist the flattening and sticking anywhere the outline detail is important to you. It doesnt have to be every leaf!

Once you are satisfied with your layout, your work is done for a while. Now it’s time to let the sun do his thing. Through the processes of evaporation & diffusion, the cloth dries in the exposed areas first. Because the covered areas are still wet, that water and paint mixture is drawn to the dry areas leaving only the natural cloth colour behind.

Okay, it’s been a while since we left our projects to dry in the welcome sunshine and we’re ready for the big reveal! After you check that the cloth is fully dry, peel all of the items off the fabric. A quick insert here: the cloth may be stuck to your table because the dried paint will stick to the surface. But that didn’t damage our projects.

Wow! That’s your negative impression. Neato-mosquito!

Okay, now if you couldn’t get hot enough sun (and really, who would measure?), let’s “heat set” that project so you can wash it later without wrecking it (or the machine). If the sun was hot and bright for your project, you might be able to skip this step, but I’m a better-safe-than-sorry kind of a gal, so we did the heat set step anyway.

To do this, put your peeled prints in the dryer on high for about 45 minutes. When they come out they’re softer and easier to work with too.

So that’s it! Now you get to hang it or sew it into something new. We’ve sewn a channel to slip a dowel through so we can hang them.

This was a great experiment with some success and some opportunity for better results next time. If we took a risk, made mistakes and had fun, I call it a success!

Until next time:: Inspire…Imagine…Invent!

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Ecotastic

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This week is gonna be Ecotastic for sure. What’s that, you ask? A little word I made up to describe all of the fantastically ecologically conscious stuff I experience with my six senses! Sums it up nicely, don’cha think?

So our camp theme this week encompasses all things Ecotastic. Crafts and activities full of recyclables, repurposables, organics, natural, upcycled and more.

To get the kids warmed up, I put out an assortment of cardboard tubes and encouraged them to use their imaginations to explore the possibilities.

To light a spark, we pulled out a bright paper to use as a work mat. Whether the project ends up attached to the paper in the end is up in the air.

If you are looking to get your creative on with paper tubes, try pressing one flat and then cutting it into rings, like this:
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Then, arrange and rearrange the rings until inspiration strikes. Use white glue and clothes pegs to hold rings together. Try cutting a ring open and twirling the cardboard around a thin dowel or pencil for a curlicue effect:
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Add beads, ribbons or whatever is at your fingertips. 2D or 3D.

It’s a great, cheap way to get your creative on with kids that can still challenge the more experienced crafter. Here’s mine!
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Throughout the week I’ll add photos of our adventures. Today we’re exploring our environment with a nature walk to collect craft-able items and a scavenger hunt!

Until next time: Inspire…Imagine… Invent!

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Add beads

Getting inspired

Duck Family

Tapping a nail for a tin can phone

Talk about a party line!

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Cooking with Kids

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Cooking with Kids

If you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know that since we relocated to our home based studio I’ve been cooking up a storm with the kiddies in our programs.

I admit, it takes a unique personality to actually enjoy this process! And I am definitely “unique”. (Odd, eccentric, weird and crazy have all been used to describe me!)

Our schedule is hectic as we attempt to make a minimum of 4 recipes each day in the classic over-achieving Danielle manner. Here’s a peek at the plan:

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Each day, the kids will prepare the recipes (with supervision) and get to try everything they make. We’ve made up reusable containers to enable family sharing that are returned for refill each day! And of course a plan is just that: a plan. Sometimes plans change as you’ll see from our pics below. We’ve had a great week so far and are looking forward to our last day together when we put together our dinner for the family.
Now, I didn’t have my brain implanted on Monday and completely gapped on taking pics of our adventure, but did manage to grab a couple of shots of our finished goods:

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Tuesday was a total write off for pics, sorry. I can tell you that all of our treats were a hit with campers and families alike and here are some pics of the leftovers, lol:

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The scrambled egg poppers were a hit and so fun. ( A few weeks ago we used these little shells to make a fun fruit faces in Nutella spread inside! )

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Sadly, I couldn’t find the recipe for the coffee cake I wanted to make and the kids said “ick” to peach cobbler (HUH??!!!) so I came up with a quick and easy concoction using most of the ingredients. We’re calling it Dopey Kid Apple Crisp Rollups!

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For a complete list of the recipes we used this week, I’ll have to get you to check back over the weekend when I’ll be adding a page to my blog for recipes. I’m doing a lot of them so we need a section now!

Next week our theme is “Ecotastic”. I’ll share a gallery of pics next week.

Until next time: Inspire…Imagine…Invent!