Tuesday, October 27, 2015

DIY: El Dia de los Muertos Calaveras

Hey, cats and kittens! I hope this Tuesday night finds you somewhere snuggled under a cozy blanket. It's been rainy and chilly for the last coupla days here and I'm just about over it. At school, the combo of Halloween week, full moon and rain-induced recess-less days has been a trifecta of cray. Did I mention that I've been giving the kids candy to draw as their sketchbook prompt? Yeah, crazy breeds crazy 'round here. 
At school, my kids are neck deep in self-portrait town. However, I did wanna introduce them to el Dia de los Muertos this week so I have been showing this super sweet and short clip to my younger students. 
And if you aren't into cartoon-land, this short clip is also a great intro to Day of the Dead. A couple of weeks ago, I had a buncha artsy buddies over to mi casa to create some Day of the Dead inspired pieces.
Doncha just love 'em? Did I mention that most o' my artsy friends are also art teacherin' types? Yeah, they got mad skillz.
To set the mood, I found some great party decor at Target and in my personal stash. Did I mention that I love hosting craft nights because decorating is so stinkin fun? It also means that I clean the house which is a highly rare occurrence. Just ask the hubs. 
For this craft, we used aluminum foil and Sculpey. In my Sculpey stash, I have tons of white. It's always the last color I use when I purchase the Sculpey packs so this worked out perfectly for our craft night! 
The inspo for this craft came from my new friend Janet. We met at The Frist when I taught my needle felting class. She was wearing this fab necklace and, when I asked, she told me her hubs had created it. Just last week, I received one from her in the mail. Thank you, Janet and Wayne! I love my necklace. 
The necklace is surprisingly lightweight and Janet told me that the reason is that the armature is made of foil! So on craft night, we all sculpted one from a gently wadded piece of foil. 
Using glass jars, we flattened the Sculpey. In my art room, in a pinch, I simply used one of our supply cups. 
Then wrap that bad boy around your foil and, viola! You've got the start of your calavera!
I used my thumbs to create eye sockets and then the rest is up to you! 
My art teacherin' buddy Sara showed us how to roll a coil of clay, flatten it and then roll that into a spiral to create a rose. Those worked out beautifully in our designs. 
 With our clay scraps, we created these marbled dishes with the golden edges. This is a craft from my fave blog that I'd been meaning to try for a while. They turned out beautifully! 
The possibilities of what could be down with these are endless: add a magnet to the back, a pin, use it as a necklace or, my fave idea, frame it in a miniature picture frame and put on display!
No matter what, happy creating! 
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Thursday, October 22, 2015

In the Art Room: Self Portrait Mural Inspired by Todd Parr, Part 1

Hey, y'all! I just had to share with you a project that we are about half way through: A big ole self-portrait mural inspired by the artist and author Todd Parr! It's a school-wide effort but currently only my kindergarten through 2nd grade students are finished. Once my 3rd and 4th grade kiddos complete their self-portraits, I'll add them to the mural and be sure to share the finished product with y'all. 
This unit of study has not only involved creating a colorful self-portrait but also color theory and collage. But I'm getting ahead of myself! Let's talk about the inspo: It's Okay to be Different. Do y'all have this book? It's a super short and colorful read that's perfect for the art room. What better place to emphasize our differences and celebrate them than art class, right?! It's a happy read with a  great underlining meaning that the kids really love. 
And I really love the crazy and colorful result! To walk you through the entire process, lemme tell you how we started. With kindergarten and first grade, that meant this color-mixing lesson and a reading of the book Mouse Paint. 
Kindergarten created these in one class: read the book, did some drawing together and boom! Mixed up some secondaries. I created a more thorough blog post here. A video of the steps is below.
My first and second graders earned a party for their awesomeness and we used our color mixing skills to ice our cookies!
If you'd like to know more about this, you can watch this short clippie: 
Once we'd become paint mixing masters, we created these painted papers! The papers had been pre-folded by yours truly, first in half and then a 4" fold across the bottom. This created two squares and two rectangles on the paper. The kids were instructed to use their knowledge to paint three shapes in the secondary colors and in the last shape, they could paint any color they liked. 
 I loved the colorful result! I need this as some wallpaper, stat!
Now, in this NEW video, I'll walk you through our collage portrait making process. I throw a TON of ideas at the kids and let them pick and choose and, of course, come up with their own! I feel like the more ideas you give them, the more confident they will feel that they can make any of their wild and crazy ideas come true. 
Because I see my younger students for 30 minutes, they spent two days collaging and on their final day they outlined in black paint. In the video, I am using brush painting supplies to help the students keep their "paintbrush ballerina" on her tippy toes. 
 Each portrait was different and, of course, that was okay! 

Y'all better believe I love that crayon hair clip. I wonder where she got that idea...?!
What's cuter than a side pony? Nothing, y'all. Absolutely nothing.
 For my kindergarten and first grade kiddos, I took a different route. After cluing down the head and ears, these kids created their facial features in black paint. 
 I love the variety that they add to the self portrait mural. Cool glasses, bruh. 
Love how this kindergartener created his spiked hair and glasses, so cute!
And there you have it! I can't wait to see what my third and fourth graders come up with to add to the mural. After this mural, we are on to creating realistic selfies as well. 

What are some of your fave self portrait lessons? If you need some ideas, I shared some here...but I'd love to hear some more! Lemme know below, y'all! 
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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

In the Art Room: Beautiful Oops and Barney Saltzberg Visit!

So today a magical surprise happened in the art room: Barney Saltzberg, author of Beautiful Oops dropped by! 

Okay, pick yourself up off the floor and lemme tell you how this amazement went down. 
So this book is every art teacher's dream. It focuses on working through your "mistakes", or oops as Barney calls them, and turning them into something beautiful. This is how creative ideas are born! Isn't this what we art teacherin' types try to teach our young artists everyday? 
So all y'all can only image what a thrill it was to have Barney himself not only read Beautiful Oops to the kids but also talk to them about his creative process. When writing the book, he didn't start with a plan, so to speak, but he created each "oops" illustration and then worked from there. What a perfect method for such a book, don't you think? He shared with us that after illustrating this page, he went into his son's bedroom and saw that he had drawn a similar penguin to the one his son had created! It was so cool to hear his ideas behind each page. 
One of my fave stories he shared was how Amazon stopped shipping his book soon after it was released (don't worry, they've since resumed). Apparently a ton of folks were returning the book because one of the pages is torn and Barney makes an oops out of it. Guess some folk were a lil unclear on the concept and thought they'd received a damaged book!
Y'all might be wondering just how a girl and her students got so lucky. Well, I have Mark Meckel, the dude on the right, to thank for that. You see, last year, my then third grade kids had the opportunity to visit a recording studio and record the song It's a Beautiful Oops. 
Working with Mark and our music teacher, my students learned the lyrics of the song and recorded it in Nashville. 
But the icing on the cake for me was chatting with Barney via Skype that day. So you can only imagine how thrilled I was that he popped by today! Fortunately, when Barney dropped by today, he visited with a fourth grade class, the same group of kids who had sang It's a Beautiful Oops! 
After reading the book, Barney used one of our messy paint mats and created a crazy elephant head sculpture out of it (he named it Elepantish, ha!). Then I passed out the kids sketchbooks and told them to close their eyes and draw a piece of scrap paper from our painted paper box. They were to create something from that oops. I gave them free reign to sculpt, collage, draw, etc. They were thrilled! We spent our last 15 minutes other just oopsing it up!
It was an awesome day, one me and my students are sure not to forget. Thank you, Barney, Mark and Tom! 
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Sunday, October 18, 2015

DIY: My Top 5 Fave Things About Fall

Good evening, foolish mortals! I don't know about all y'all but I'm beyond thrilled that it's fall. YES, I'm aware that rhymed. And YES, I'm aware that my poetry skillz are the stuff of envy. Not everyone can match this quarter pounder with cheese of awesome. Since I'm a big fat hairy fan of all things Halloween-ie and Fall-tastic (case in point: check out the blog post behind those Haunted Mansion pants here), I thought I'd slap together this here post of my Top 5 Fave Thingies about Fall, y'all! What are your fave fall-ish things? Or, more importantly, what are you dressing up as this Halloween? 
1. Costumes! Best part of fall? Dressing up for Halloween, of course! We're not "allowed" to dress up for the big day at my school but, really, I look like I'm dressed for the occasion nearly everyday. And if I can tie it in with what the kids are learning about, all the better, right? Here's one of my fave costumes to date: Mary Poppins
While we were studying all things Frenchie one year, I dressed as everyone's fave school girl, Madeline! That was an easy costume to slap together and so much fun to wear while reading the book to the kids. 
'Kay, so, truth be told, that Crazy Art Teacher costume on the left isn't, um, a costume. That'd be a daily outfit in Art Teacherin' Land. But that Magritte number did fall on the big day and was fun to wear. Well, except for talking behind a giant apple all day. 
I'll actually be donning this number on Tuesday as we are celebrating Super Hero Day! Nothing like an art teacher/Lichtenstein inspo to come and save the day, right? 

2. El Dia de los Muertos! I love the beautiful artwork that comes from el dia de los muertos, it's some of my fave! It's so colorful and celebratory that it always makes me smile. I've tried my hand at creating several Day of the Dead crafts that dress being one of 'em. 
 Painting these flower pots for the occasions was a ton of fun. 
Of course just one Day of the Dead dress isn't enough so last year, I created this number. I had to add those pompoms at the bottom because, well, who doesn't love colorful pompoms?! 
When we travel, which we do a lot during October going to haunts, I love to embroider. Last year, I stitched up this piece on one of our trips. It's reversible, y'all! 
3.  Creating! The beauty of fall is always surprising to me, it's like I forget just how stinkin' pretty it is every single year. The smells and the leaves are what gets me every time. One of my fave fall activities are creating these leaf prints
I love how beautiful these always look and they are a great lesson in teaching positive and negative space, among a bah-zillion other thangs. 
Leaf reliefs are another big hit in the art room. Bring a lil science into your art room and you'll be a hit with all those big wigs. Or just wear a big wig like the one above and BOOM! you're the big wig and you can do what you want. In which case, you'll still wanna do these. 
A coupla years ago I collected every beautiful leaf I could find and I squished em in my leaf press. Then I went bananaz and made millions (okay, like seven) flattened leaf-y works. Like that one below. 
 They look so pretty on the wall when I bring 'em out in the fall (again, poet, I know it). 
4. Clothes! Well, y'all know clothes are my fave. I mean, when you catch me starring off into space, I'm thinking about one of two things: Donuts and Clothes. Prolly in that order. And Halloween clothes are just about my favorite. You can see that Frankendress here
Of course this Walking Dead-inspired frock has been super fun to wear to all of the Halloween events el hubbo and I love to go to. What? Is there something behind me? 
 Let's just go ahead and say it: sometimes, the fabric makes the dress. Case in point, y'all, this vintage horror flick frock. The fabric is my ab fab. 
Wanna hear something cray? I officially have so many Halloween wears that I've not even gotten around to wearing this one this year! 
 5. Being Inspired! This year, more than any other fall, I've really been inspired to paint, create and decorate! I got the idea to do this mug shot of The Bride back in August and I finally decided to dive in and just do it (thank you, Shia Labeouf!). 
And that's kinda how these guys were made too. I have this habit of putting things off (hello, lesson plans!) and I'm super bad when it comes to creating, believe it or not. I'm all about the list making and then the talking myself outta it. My new thing is just to dive in before my nay-sayin' side of my brain has any, um, nay-saying to say. Nay. And that's how these lil dudes came to be. 
AND this crazy cat thing
Fall marks the time of year when I start needle felting EVERYTHING. Like, seriously. No thrift store sweater, dress, pants, you name it, are unable to escape my needle stabbing abilities. Take this sweater for zample. 
And there you have it! What have you been creating this fall? Any embroidered goodness? Stitched stuff? Paintings? I'd love to know! Time's a-wasting...next thing you know, I'll be comin' at ya with Christmas crafts, ahhhhh!! Can't wait!

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