" Some days we paint with large bold strokes, like when someone finishes a book report or gets a piece of music ready for performing. Most of our days are softer in color. A little dab here a little dab there, following a rough draft, but allowing ourselves to paint outside the lines when we want too. "
~ Deborah Jean

Monday, November 29, 2010

Paper Christmas Tree ~

( made by our son when he was 9 )

What do you do with wrapping paper from past Christmas's, Birthdays and other celebrations? 


Here's a fun and easy GREEN art idea just in time for Christmas! 

These two mosaic paper Christmas trees were made by our children when they were 7 and 9. 

( made by our daughter when she was 7 )

I love the SUN beaming down on her tree! 
This is a fun and easy craft for you and your children to do together on a cozy afternoon. Double the fun and invite some homeschooling pals over for some hot cocoa and a snack! 

Salvaged Christmas cards and  wrapping paper 
Construction paper
Glue Stick
  • First draw have your child draw the shape of a Christmas Tree onto a piece of construction paper. cut it out and glue it to another piece of construction paper of a contrasting color. 
  • Cut paper into various shapes and sizes.
  • Glue the pieces in any fashion that is pleasing to the eye until the entire tree is filled with paper pieces.
  • Notice the different patterns, textures, and colors on your papers as you're working together. 
  • Don't forget to decorate the top of your tree! 

* This paper mosaic technique can be
 applied to other types of sketches and drawings as well. 

The Solstice Evergreen is on our bookshelf . It's our favorite book on the history of the Christmas Tree from around the world... A fun and informative read as you create your very own  paper mosaic Christmas trees together. 

Deborah Jean 

PS.  Wendy over at Living Creatively with Children posted her paper trees yesterday too. Go take a peak!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Our Thanksgiving ~ a poem

A poem to enjoy with each other this weekend.


All the name tags have been placed,
The candles have been lit.
They all came with food and wine,
They know just where to sit.

Some traveled such a long way,
Some just around the block.
They laughed, they joked, they nibbled…
Dinner’s set for six o’clock.

The game is on the T.V.,
Introductions have been made,
The children have been hugged and kissed,
All compliments were paid.

This day, is very special,
The planning took some time.
Our hearts are light and filled with love,
This family…yours and mine.

Great happiness and cheers to all,
On this day of counting blessings;
We’ll kiss the cook
And have some pie
And fill up on the dressing!

Thanksgiving Day
November 25, 2010
Karen J. Dixon

Written by,  Karen Dixon. Artist, bear maker, poet and lastly ( I'm honored to say, my Aunt ) 

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Make a Fall Leaf Picture Book ~ part two

Welcome Back to making a Fall Leaf Picture Book!
How did gathering, pressing and tracing your leaves go? Are you ready to paint?

  Here are a couple of pages in progress from our book this week. What I love about this project is taking the time to be aware of all the color's, textures and shapes in the fallen leaves we gathered. As we traced our leaves onto the water color paper we became even more aware of how varied all these elements are in each leaf! Lastly, I love the joy creating brings to our home. It's one of my favorite ways to slow down, be in the moment and with our children at the same time.

Get Ready to Paint: 
  • Cover your table or work surface with newspaper or a plastic table cloth.
  • Gather your brushes, sea sponges, paint pallets, and paper towels for blotting.
  • Fresh glasses of water for each artist
  • Water color paints ( tube preferably but not necessary)
  • Your pages with traced leaves


Spread your gathered leaves about the table and near the pages you'll be painting. Before you begin to paint, take a few moments to observe and discuss the many colors, textures, and shapes of the leaves with your young artists.

In this photo our daughter chose to paint the gold she see's in the leaf first. After it dried for a few minutes she returned to the leaf adding a deep red to the edges followed by some veining. 

As you talk about the colors of your leaves, think about the back ground colors for your pages too.  Ask your young artists questions about where their leaves are and what they are doing!

ASK: Are your leaves lying on the green grass or are they flying through the air against a bright blue ( or a cloudy ) sky? Are they sprinkled on the walkway or floating in a puddle of water like the leaves on our daughters page here?

Any colors that contrast with the leaves will make them POP off the page and create more excitement for the viewer!

I love how our daughters friend chose a bright violet for one of her leaves... It's not realistic at all, but it harmonizes with the golds, reds, and greens of the other leaves wonderfully! At this point she hasn't chosen her background color. I can't wait to see what color/s she chooses! 

Here are a couple of pages out of  our Spring Picture Book . The images in this book were painted and colored separately on to paper plates then applied to a page that was painted before hand for the chosen images. This is fun collage idea and can be applied to your Fall leaf book as well... Paint a back ground page, let it dry. On a separate sheet, paint some leaves, cut them out and glue them on! SIMPLE! 

Both sides of the page have images and background color on them just like a real book! 

These are the covers to our Ocean Picture Book and the Spring Picture Book! 

( back page to Spring picture book ) 

*  Decide which pages will be your COVER and BACK of your book
* If you wrote a poem, will you place it on the front inside cover, or spread out the verses on the pages?
* To bind your book, punch three holes down the left side of your pages and tie together with ribbon, twine, yarn, jute, string, or what ever you have on hand.

There's more to creating art than mastering a technique. Especially in the beginning!

Before you and your child paint your pages, experiment on a " play sheet " of  water color paper first...
Try using different colors, more or less water, bigger vs. smaller brushes and brush strokes and play with contrasting color ideas! 

BASIC Water Color Painting Tips:
  • The more water you add to your color the more translucent the color. ( more see through)
  • The lesser amount of water you add the more opaque/deeper your color will be. ( more coverage)
  • Let one layer of paint dry for 15 minutes or so before adding another color for shading, or texture
  • Change rinse water when it becomes cloudy or muddy looking
  • To add texture to a leaf dampen your sea sponge, blot it almost dry, dab it in your color of choice, blot again then lightly tap it up and down on your leaf.
  • What else could you use to make patterns in your leaves?  
The mission behind this create with the season ART IDEA  is to help you and your child connect with nature and sharpen observation skills. To have fun playing with a new art medium and to have the experience of making a book you will treasure for many years to come. Just think, when the last leaf has fallen and the ground is brown, ( or white with snow) and skies are gray you can pick up your fall leaf book for a big dose of color!

  You've gotten your feet wet and your brushes too and spent precious time creating with your child.

What other ideas can YOU come up with for more Picture Books? 

Thank so much for joining us in making a Fall Leaf Picture Book! 
I promise a post when ours is complete... In the meantime... Happy Painting... and don't forget to post about your book when it's finished and send me the link too!

" you yourselves must be filled with wonder and when you have acquired that, you are prepared."  ~ Montessori

Friday, November 12, 2010

This Moment~ A Friday Ritual

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. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Make a Fall Leaf Picture Book ~ part one

Of all the seasons, Fall is my favorite! The inside rooms of our home are painted in cozy fall colors such as warm apricot, crimson red, and earthy golden ocher.

It is the glorious season of fall we have to thank for the inspiration behind this fun and easy picture book. No formal art lessons required!

To get this Art Idea off the ground you'll need to head outside with your children to gather all sorts of fallen leaves. Choose as many shapes as you can find and a wide variation in color.

Look at the varied shades of golden yellows, and the reds looking almost pink in spots!

Note the brown spots in these leaves.

Once you have your leaves gathered, place them between the pages of heavy books, or underneath a large platter or plate to flatten them... Leave them to dry and flatten for 2-3 days. While your waiting on your leaves you can go shopping for art supplies! 

Art Supplies List 

  • Watercolor Paints
  • Watercolor Pad  11 x 15 inches
  • Mechanical pencils for tracing
  • Water Color Paint Brushes
  •  Washable Tempura Paints
  • One pkg. Small Sea Sponges
  • Jute, ribbon or twine
  • Hole punch

  • * art supplies can be found at your local craft supply and art supply store. 
Now that you have your supplies you're ready place your leaves onto your watercolor pages.
You and your children can have fun arranging your leaves in any pattern that is pleasing to you. 
As your placing your leaves, think about how leaves fall naturally in nature. Side by side, upside down, on top of the other, most colorful side up or down etc...

Here is an example of an Oak Leaf traced onto graph paper. 
As your tracing your leaves, don't worry about getting it perfect or following too close to the edge of the leaf.
Leaves have missing tips and holes in them so just trace around those edges loosely. 

  Great! Trace as many leaves as you like on both sides of the watercolor paper. 
Your book can be as many pages as you like. 

We'll be back next week for Part 2.

Basic painting techniques in watercolors.
Collage Ideas
Binding your book together

Sneak Peak at a page in progress! 

While you're waiting for Part 2 see if you can make up a poem to go with your leaf picture book. 
Here's a prompt for you!

One by one, down they fall... ??? 

 I'll do a " Fall Leaf Book Tour " post of  your completed  books or pages. Just send me your blog post link if you blogged about it / J Peg photos when your done!
Its fun to share!

 It's on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly. ~ Claude Monet'


 Happy November friends,

The leaves are falling as fast as I can type. Cooler air has chased away the warmth of Indian summer and Father Winter will be knocking on our door before we know it. Don't fret! It's a wonderful, festive time of year with so much to look forward too!