Friday, February 29, 2008

Clouds Art Show

I am going to start regularly posting themed art shows here on my blog. You can find links to my past art shows on my sidebar. I think I will start with art shows every other week. This one's theme is clouds.

Looking at these paintings I encourage you to focus on the clouds. How did each painter see and paint clouds differently? I have put together a 7 page Clouds in Art Mini Unit Study Notebooking Page Set designed to help you and your students really get into the pieces of art. A short biography is included for each artist and some pages include easy art activites you might wish to spend some time completing after viewing the artwork. If you are interested in these pages see my post here.

Pick your favorite work to print out and hang up somewhere you will see it everyday or set it as your desktop background. If you have other favorite paintings with clouds feel free to leave links in the comments.
Vincent Van Gogh- Wheat Field Under Threatening Skies
1890 Oil on canvas 50.5 x 100.5 cm
Vincent van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
Claude Monet- Water Lilies (The Clouds)1903 Oil on canvas 29 3/8 x 41 7/16 in.
Private collection
George Inness- Passing Clouds
1876 Oil on canvas 20 x 30 in
Private collection
Claude Monet- The Stroll (Woman with a Parasol)
1875 Oil on canvas 39 3/8 x 31 7/8 in.
National Gallery of Art, Washington
Emily Carr- Scorned as Timber, Beloved of the Sky
1935 Oil on canvas 111.8 x 68.4 cm
Vancouver Art Gallery
John Constable- Cloud Study
1822 Oil on paper laid on board 12 x 19 1/4 in
Courtauld Institute Galleries, London
John Constable- Study of Clouds at Hampstead1821 Oil on paper laid on board 9 1/2 x 11 3/4 in
Royal Academy of Arts, London
Lawren Harris- Clouds, Lake Superior
c. 1923 Oil on canvas 86.5 x 102 cm
Macdonald Stewart Art Centre, Guelph, Canada
Be sure to check out my
The perfect complement to this post!

Clouds in Art Mini Unit Study Notebooking Page Set PDF

I am now offering a PDF set of notebooking pages designed to be used with my Clouds in Art- Online Art Show.

This is a set of 7 notebooking pages designed to help you and your students really get into the pieces of art.
  • Each page includes questions to help you and your students take a deeper look and gain a deeper understanding of the artist, subject and style. (You can consider these questions orally or have your children write their responses in the space provided.)
  • A short biography is included for each artist.
  • Some pages include easy art activities you might wish to spend some time completing after viewing the artwork.
  • Most of the notebooking pages include the piece of art being studied. (The Lawren Harris piece is not in the public domain, and is thus not included, but there is still a page for the work of his included in the art show.)

If you would like to purchase the Clouds in Art Mini Unit Study, I am offering it for $4.95. To purchase a set you can use the Pay Now PayPal button on my blog sidebar. This is not automated, so I will have to email the PDF file to you once I receive your PayPal payment. The PDF will be emailed to you within 72 hours after I receive payment, usually sooner. (I do not currently have Internet access at my house.) The PDF will be emailed to the email account associated with the PayPal payment I receive.

If you have any questions about the Clouds in Art Mini Unit Study Notebooking Page Set PDF feel free to email me at

*Please note if you purchase these pages they are for your own personal use and are not to be distributed or sold.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Links to Some Great Activities

Just a quick post to share some links to some great activities I have found online. The Internet is such a wonderful thing!
Make your own finger paint
Make a woven paper bookmark
Learn to fold a newspaper hat (the article claims even 3 year olds can do this!)
Make your own napkin rings from baker's clay

I will be back later this week with a themed art show like my Winter Art Show. The theme of this one will be clouds. I will also be offering a set of notebooking pages to download to go along with it, so be sure to come back later to check it out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Handicrafts with Very Young Children

I have had quite a few people email me to ask me what I think are appropriate handicraft projects for very young children (3-6 year olds). It seems that what type and when you introduce certain handicrafts depends a lot on your child- their interests and abilities. If you have a child that likes to sit and work with his or her hands, he or she no doubt will be ready earlier to start sewing, working with yarn, etc. On the other hand, if you have a child that loves to run around and hates working with tiny things, it may be that you need to work into handicrafts, finding a project that interests your child and that can be worked a little at a time.

The main things are to keep the projects fairly simple and realistic as well as enjoyable for you and your child. I also really like the Charlotte Mason idea of making something worthwhile and beautiful as well.

Here are some ideas I came up with:
  • Stringing large beads onto string (or shoelaces work well)
  • Stitching with yarn and a plastic needle on plastic canvas (this is good for learning the up and down motion of sewing)
  • Sculpting with clay
  • Weaving paper
  • Spool knitting
  • Making and shaping bread dough (or salt dough)
  • Rubber stamping

I cannot say what is the right or wrong time or project. You know your children better than anyone else and can gauge what they will be able to handle. Just make sure it isn't going to be too frustrating for them or you. If you start something and it isn't working quite right, but your child is having a great time, just go with it. If your child is frustrated put it away and come back another day. if you have a hobby you love, teach it to your child. Your enthusiasm will rub off. Remember to be patient and have fun.

If you have any other ideas, or input please feel free to leave me a comment.

And for 6-12 year olds I am selling a mini sewing kit with two easy felt projects designed to teach specific sewing skills. Be sure to check it out here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tabletop Garden Update #2

Photo from this morning (it's cloudy so hard to get a good photo)
Wow, it's been a while since I posted. I am not sure how that happened, except for the fact that we have been having almost spring-like weather here (in the mid 60's). With the weather so nice, I haven't wanted to be indoors.
My tabletop garden is really amazing me. I was not expecting so much growth. The parsnip and the turnip have the largest growth, but the carrot and rutabaga are also getting pretty tall. The sweet potato isn't really growing, except for a little bit below the water line. Not sure what is happening.

This photo is from Friday- 2 weeks into my experiement.

For instructions on putting together your own tabletop garden, see my post here. You can also print a free notebooking page download for your tabletop garden here.
If anyone has their own tabletop garden, I would love to see photos. My goal is to post every day this week, so check back tomorrow for my promised post about handicrafts with very young children.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Yarn Crafts

Things have been a little quiet around the blog here lately. I am busy finalizing the projects for my spring kit. I still have a lot of work to do, but I am really excited about what we have planned. It is my goal to begin pre-ordering the first part of next month. So keep your eyes out for that.

Meanwhile, here are some links to some easy yarn handicraft projects:

Weave a change purse
Make a yarn doll
Learn to finger knit (the kids at the school where I used to work *loved* this)
Learn to make pom poms

There are tons of easy projects you can do using the Nifty Knitter (scarfs, hats, etc). We have a Knifty Knitter, but for some reason I haven't used it too much. I did make a scarf last winter with it and it was super easy. Here are some links to Amazon to get you started.

I promise to check back in a few times this week with an update on my tabletop garden (which has some major growth now) and some ideas for crafting with very young children.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tabletop Garden Update

So here are some photos of day 5 of my tabletop garden nature study project. As you can see the turnip and the parsnip are already showing a lot of growth. Even yesterday they were a lot smaller. This is amazing.

~The parsnip~

~The turnip already has little leafy looking growth!~

And here is what we did with the bottom parts of the vegetables. I cut them up sprinkled them with olive oil and some spices and then baked them for about 45 minutes in a 475' oven. I think I liked all the vegetables except for the turnip.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Indoor Nature Study Idea- Tabletop Garden

"But what is the use of being a 'very observant
child,' if you are not put in the way of things worth

Charlotte Mason Volume 1 Pages 69- 70
One of the ideas of a Charlotte Mason education is to help our children to become observant learners about the world. That is one of the reasons I love this project- it is all about observation. I have been wanting to try out this indoor nature study idea for a while now. Today I went to the store and bought some root vegetables. I bought a carrot, turnip, parsnip, yam and rutabaga. (Did you know in Ireland a rutabaga is called a swede? And rutabaga is also very fun to say.) You will want to pick vegetables that have a bit of green on the top (see third photo).
You are going to cut about 2" off the top of each vegetable. Stick three or four toothpicks near the very top of each vegetable. Set the toothpicks on the rim of a jar and fill the jar with water so that it the water level is above the bottom of your vegetable (as shown above).
Here are my five vegetables ready for observation. My turnip was too big to fit in the rim of my jar, so I placed it in a shallow bowl of water. If you don't have jars, you could do this with all of your vegetables. I even read that you could just set the vegetables on a wet paper towel on a plate. Place your vegetables somewhere they will receive some sunshine or at least some light each day. Check your vegetables each day and record your observations. You will also want to check each day to make sure the bottoms of the vegetables remain submerged in the water.
I put together a free Tabletop Garden Notebook page (seen in photo above) to help you record your observations. Check back in a couple days and I will show you what has happened with my tabletop garden. This is a very easy, inexpensive nature study project (I think I spent $2.39 for all five of my vegetables). I would love to hear about the tabletop gardens you all start. Be sure to check out my other free downloads (links are on my sidebar).