Sunday, April 27, 2008

Spring Flower Vase Project

"[One of] the important things to keep in mind about children's crafts are that... they should be given work well within the ability of their age range so that they are able to do it well and not sloppily."
Charlotte Mason in Modern English Page 316

Here is an amazingly easy and fun art project for you to do with your children. I would think that even very young children, with a little help, would be able to complete this project with amazing results. This is a paper mache project using tissue paper and regular school glue to decorate a vase. A perfect activity for spring, because it will encourage you and your children to cut some spring flowers to decorate your home. I think this would also make a great gift.

You will need:

  1. School glue
  2. Recycled plastic container to put glue in (like a yogurt cup)
  3. Paintbrush
  4. Tissue paper (cut into small squares)
  5. Scissors
  6. A vase or jar with smooth sides (make sure the outside of it is clean)

1. Squeeze a little bit of the glue into the plastic cup. You won't need a lot and can always add more if you need to.

2. Using the paintbrush brush some glue onto the vase a little larger than the size of your tissue paper squares.

3. Press a tissue paper square onto the vase. Use your paintbrush to brush glue over the top of the tissue paper. 4. Repeat step three adding more squares and brushing glue over the top.

5. Continue until you have covered the whole vase or jar. You may need to cut smaller squares to put along the bottom edge of the vase or near the neck if it curves.

6. I wouldn't recommend putting paper squares on the bottom of the jar or on the inside, as they will probably come off if they get wet.

7. Set your vase aside to dry. Once it is dry (I would leave it overnight) find some spring flowers to put in it.


I would love to see any tissue paper mache vases or jars you and your children make. Feel free to link to your blog in the comments if you do this project or you can email me photos at: (amandachristina [at] yahoo. com) Thanks!

You can also check out these books on for more paper mache projects for kids.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Free Art Lapbook at CurrClick

My mom recently let me know about a free art appreciation lapbook available at

Here is the description given for the download:
"What does the word “art,” mean to you? Art can be many different things to many different people. It might be a favorite painting, sculpture, or drawing. It might be a favorite building, photograph, or craft. It could be a favorite dance move, play, or favorite song. Discovering art with the Art Appreciation Project Pack will give your student an introduction and understanding to the world of art. This 51-page Project Pack includes a 16-page Research Guide about the different types of art, elements of art, famous artists, principles of design, styles of art, and appreciating art. After reading the guide, your student will use the information found to complete 15 hands-on activities to make a lapbook on Art Appreciation."

You will need to register your email address with CurrClick in order to receive the free download. Enjoy!

To anyone who hasn't already seen my spring kit and is looking to add more art appreciation to their homeschool, you might want to check it out. I only have a few kits left, so if you are interested be sure to purchase yours now!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Free Cloud Study Resource

So here is a free resource if you are studying weather or clouds for your nature study:

It has descriptions and photos of the different types of clouds, journaling pages, reviews, activities and more.

You might also be interested in my Weather Lapbook which includes information about types of clouds, a winter nature journal, a moon log, weather words, wind scale, weather record, weather forecasting, and space for your own weather poem.

If you are studying clouds and want to tie art in with your nature study, be sure to check out myClouds in Art Show and Notebooking Pages as well as this book recommendation.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A Perfect Spring Activity...

I really like sidewalk chalk. When I worked at an elementary school I always made sure I had some on hand. It is a perfect activity for when it starts to warm up and the outdoors is calling your name. There are so many possibilities when you have a stretch of open sidewalk or blacktop and a box of sidewalk chalk.

I think one reason children like to use sidewalk chalk is that they can make their drawings very BIG! But you can do so much more than just draw with sidewalk chalk! You can make your own court for a game you make up. Or you can use the chalk to draw a hopscotch court or two-square court. You can make a maze or a race track for you, your bicycle or your Hot Wheels cars. You can design a neighborhood or town for your cars or dolls. The possibilities are endless!

One thing the kids at the school used to love to do with sidewalk chalk was to lie on the ground and have someone trace around them. Then they would color in their clothes, hair and face. They would come up with funny poses and great outfits. One time they convinced me to lie down on the ground so they could trace me. I made mine a Hawaiian hula girl. (The photo is of one of my favorite little girls, and I love how she added high heels to her shoes. Too cute!)

Sidewalk chalk is also easy to clean up. You can just spray the concrete down with a hose and it washes away.

Crayola has a lot of neat sidewalk chalk kits you might want to check out:

If you would like to try making your own sidewalk chalk, here are some easy homemade sidewalk chalk instructions. I haven't tried this myself, so I would be interested to hear how they turn out.

I hope you you are having nice, spring-like weather wherever you are so that you can get outside and get drawing. :)

Sunday, April 13, 2008

What Would Charlotte Mason Think?

"We recognise that the power of appreciating art and of producing to some extent an interpretation of what one sees is as universal as intelligence, imagination, nay, speech, the power of producing words. But there must be knowledge and, in the first place, not the technical knowledge of how to produce, but some reverent knowledge of what has been produced; that is, children should learn pictures, line by line, group by group, by reading, not books, but pictures themselves."

Charlotte Mason Volume 6 Page 214

I recently came across this video: Conversations with Mona Lisa

Honestly I was shocked. It is too much! It is so sad that we live in a society where people feel that even art masterpieces have to be animated in order to hold the attention of young ones. I had to ask myself, what would Charlotte Mason think?

While I am all for promoting a child's interest in art, this is the wrong way to go about it. How does turning great works of art into something more like television or a video game help children to appreciate true art? It doesn't.

Yes it may be more "fun" to watch a screen than view the still work, and to see the people in a painting move and explain exactly what they are doing, but the whole point is for children to discover for themselves what is in each painting. To find their own meaning in it. To compare it to what they already know. To make their own connections. To study it "line by line."

Charlotte Mason, as brought out in the quote above, advocated children learning from the painting itself and not from books which might discuss the painting. The same would hold true to videos and animated paintings. These masterpieces speak for themselves.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave them in the comments.


For a more Charlotte Mason based approach to art, be sure to check out my spring themed art, nature study and handicraft kit which includes a Rousseau art print and notebooking page, the art shows listed in my sidebar, as well as my Clouds in Art Mini Unit Study and Still Life Art Show Mini Unit Study.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Still Life Art Show

This week's art show focuses on still life paintings.
As you and your children look at each painting, I encourage you to focus on how each artist painted the still life. How did each painter see fruit and flowers and books differently?
I have put together a 15 page Still Life Art Show Mini Unit Study Notebooking Pages PDF 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 activities 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 still life paintings feel free to leave links in the comments.
Henri Matisse Still Life with Blue Tablecloth
1909 34 5/8 x 46 1/2" Oil on canvas
The Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg

Paul Signac Still Life with a Book and Oranges
1885 Oil on canvas 12 3/4 x 18 1/4 in.
Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Nationalgalerie
Paul Signac Still Life with Pitcher
1919 Watercolor and graphite 11 7/8 x 17 5/8 in.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Still Life with Candles and Mirror
Max Beckmann
1930 Oil on canvas 28 5/8 x 55 1/4 in.
Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe

Paul Gauguin Still Life with Three Puppies
1888 Oil on canvas 34 3/4 x 24 5/8 in.
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
William Harnett Still-life with Violin
1888 Oil on canvas 20 x 24 in.
New Britain Museum of American Art, Connecticut
Roy Lichtenstein
Still Life with Lamp
1976 Oil and Magna on canvas
54 x 74 in. Private collection
Ambrosius Bosschaert
Bouquet of Flowers on a Ledge
1620 Oil on wood
11 x 9 in
Paul C├ęzanne
Still Life with Apples
1893-4 Oil on canvas 25 3/4 x 32 1/8 in.
Pieter Claesz
A Vanitas Still Life
1645 Oil on panel
15 x 24 in.
Gustave Courbet
Still Life: Fruit
1871-2 Oil on canvas
23 1/4 x 28 3/8 in
Shelburne Museum, Vermont
Fernando Botero
Still Life with Watermelon
1992 Oil on canvas 95 x 116 cm

Be sure to check out my notebooking pages to go along with this art show here.
And you may want to check out the other art shows I have put together. They are listed in my sidebar.

Still Life Art Show Mini Unit Study Notebooking Pages PDF

I am now offering a PDF set of notebooking pages designed to be used with my Still Life Art Show.

This is a set of 14 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.
  • Two coloring sheets are provided to accompany two works included in the art show.
  • Most of the notebooking pages include the piece of art being studied. (The Lichtenstein and Botero pieces are not in the public domain, and are thus not included, but there is still a page for both of their works included in the art show.)
  • A "What is a Still Life? worksheet is also included.

If you would like to purchase the Still Life Art Show 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. Just be sure to use the right button, as I have two sets of notebooking pages for sale. 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 currently do not 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 Still Life Art Show 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. *

Art Show to Follow

So, I know I promised another art show for today. Life got in the way this weekend and I haven't finished putting it or the notebooking pages together. I actually had a good friend rushed to the hospital so I couldn't think of anything else this weekend. (She is fine now and at home, thankfully.) I will be finishing up the show and the notebooking pages this afternoon and will be able to post them either late this afternoon or tomorrow first thing in the morning. Be sure to come back to check them out.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I am definitely my mother's daughter...

So my poppy photo from yesterday was taken on the side of the road. The light was so perfect as I was driving home from my tutoring appointment on Tuesday evening that I had to stop. The best part was that I was spotted by my friend and her family as they drove by. They couldn't figure out what I was doing crouched down on the side of the road!
Yesterday I made my friend stop on the side of the highway (don't worry, we actually pulled off on a side street) so that I could take more photos of wildflowers. The California poppies and the purple vetch were so beautiful together. Earlier in the day we also saw purple columbine and poppies growing together, but that was on the side of the highway on-ramp where there was road construction so we thought we better not stop!

~California poppies just make me happy.~

You can find beautiful flowers anywhere!

If you know my mom then you know that taking photos on the side of the road is something she would do and actually has done. Sometimes you just need to stop and appreciate the beauty of nature- even if it is on the side of a busy, noisy freeway! My suggestion for the day is to go find your own bit of spring. It might surprise you where you can find it if you just look hard enough.

I am signing off until Monday when I will be back with another art show and a set of notebooking pages to go along with it! Have a great weekend everyone.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Antonio Vivaldi's Four Seasons- Spring

So, in keeping with my tradition of posting Vivaldi's movement from the Four Seasons for each season, here is Spring.

I was interested to read that there are actually sonnets (written perhaps by Vivaldi himself) that go along with each movement. Here is the sonnet for spring:

Spring has come and joyfully the birds greet it with happy song, and the brooks,
while the streams flow along with gentle murmur as the zephyrs blow. There come,
shrouding the air with a black cloak, lighting and thunder chosen to herald [the
storm]; then, when these are silent, the little birds return to their melodious
And now, in the pleasant, flowery meadow, to the soft murmur
of leaves and plants, the goatherd sleeps with his faithful dog at his side.
To the festive sound of a pastoral bagpipe, nymphs and shepherds dance under
their beloved roof, greeting the glittering arrival of the spring.

As you listen you might want to try this idea from my mom's blog: Coloring to Classical Music.

You also might want to brainstorm and record any images of spring that come to mind when you and your children listen to this song and write your own poems.

I can hardly wait until summer...Summer is my favorite Vivaldi movement.

If you are interested in studying a little more about Vivaldi you can check out the Harmony Fine Arts Free Dowload (Vivaldi is on page 8 of the PDF). It has links to biographical information and online listening.

If you want to purchase a Vivaldi CD from Amazon, here are some to get you started: (We own the first one and highly recommend it.)

And if you haven't seen my spring themed art, handicraft and nature study kit, check it out here!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Free Bird Nature Study Notebooking Pages

My mom just told me about a free download at

For all of you who are going to be focusing on birds with my spring kit, you might want to head over and check them out.

You will need to register your email address with CurrClick in order to download the notebooking pages. Enjoy!