M is for Mandalas

I needed a one-day take home project for my classes last week and came up with making mandalas….  it also served as a nice break for all the left brain dominate children in my classes. The ones who were about to strangle me if I suggested another wholly creative project. These kids wanted structure, rules, a clear plan….for goodness sake – they wanted a ruler already.  So, I gave them what they wanted in the mandala project.   (if you want more info on what a mandala is check here – Mandala Project )

We glued an old CD in the center of square pieces of heavy cardboard.  The CD’s give it a little flair, and I had a gadzillon in the art room thanks to donations, and the cardboard was a very wise bulk purchase at the beginning of the year….. but you can skip the CD center and just use heavy paper.

The kids then simply drew spokes out from the center and created repeating patterns. (note- permanent markers are necessary to write on CD’s)  ….unfinished because the kids all took their projects home :)


and the left brains were happy

~*~*~*~Blogging through the A to Z Challenge here, on Sylvie Says and Tree Girly ~*~*~*~
Thanks for stopping by!


L is for Lizards…

…specifically chameleons.   These nifty tree-dwelling lizards have the ability to change color…and move each eye independently – very cool.
Their colors change in response to light, temperature, anger or fear….contrary to popular belief, they do not actually change color to match what they are on.

The images below show the lesson pretty well….
*first the kids created abstract painting (using up whatever paint we had left)
*then we drew and cut chameleons out of card stock
*finally created chameleon habitats…..cutting leaves out of the same colorful paper adds a nice effect
*once they started making chameleons it was hard to stop :)

K is for Kites for Kids

My classes – from first to twelfth grade – all make these incredibly easy kites the last day of school. –

I was a little nervous before I started giving instructions- but once I saw the faces of the first group of kids,

I would have no problem telling the entire staff of the school to go fly a kite!

Each kite is constructed from a single piece of ordinary copy paper and are ready to fly in less than ten minutes.

Kite supplies:
Copy paper
Wooden skewer
Plastic streamers
Masking tape
String – at least 8 feet for each kite
Piece of cardboard – 2 x 4-inches is fine
Hole punch

Kite instructions:

  • Fold the paper in half,  “like a hamburger bun”
  • Measure one inch from the fold from one end, and then about two and a half inches from the other end, (see picture above)  crease this diagonal fold
  • Bend one side back to create the kite shape. Place a piece of tape vertically down the fold line so that it stays in place.
  • Lay the skewer across horizontally from one point to the other, tape in place.
  • Tape plastic strips to the bottom of the kite
  • Flip kite over and fold the front flap back and forth until it stands straight up.
  • Punch a hole in the flap about a third of the way down from the top.
  • Thread the string through this hole and tie securely. Wind the rest of the string to the piece of cardboard.

That’s it!  Now go outside and fly your kite.  We did this in two rounds, the first kite was done under close supervision in order to teach the kids exactly how to make a kite – then we flew the kites for about fifteen minutes (they really fly) …then I called everyone back in to make another kite, this time with minimal instruction – I wanted to see if they could duplicate the project at home, or whenever a kite is called for!

That turned out to be an excellent strategy. Kids who were unclear on the directions were able to ask questions, and the others used the time to make one, two, or more kites – or decorate a single kite with markers and crayons.

J is for Jelly Fish

Jelly fish art is one of those surprising trends….like the sudden popularity of “putting a bird on it,”  jelly fish have moved from a nifty kids craft right into the indie art scene.

First – if you want to make Jelly Fish craft with kids

  • Jelly Fish Body – coffee filter,  or you can use a Styrofoam bowl, plastic lid, yogurt cup, bottom of a plastic bottle, paper plate, scraps of cardboard…. whatever is handy.
  • Jelly Fish tentacles – curling ribbon works well, but so does yarn, ribbon, paper scraps, fabric, pipe cleaners, crepe paper streamers….again whatever is handy.

Simply attach the tentacles to the edge of the jelly fish body and then add an additional string on top to hang the finished jelly fish from the ceiling.

Giant Jelly Fish can be made from an old hula hoop and strips of tulle and ribbons. This could double as a great little hiding place for a small child when hung from the ceiling in a corner. Hang a few glow sticks for a magical feel!


Painting  Jelly Fish is fun for kids and adults… like the crayons and watercolors here


and all sorts of Jazzy Jellyfish art for sale on Etsy and ArtFire



Blogging through the A to Z Challenge here and on Sylvie Says …J is for Jung and Tree Girly  thanks for stopping by!


H is for Hearts


“I Spy” is the title of this large painting –  personally I love the colors and the shimmery paint … it came together so fast, I hardly remember painting it at all. Then, it was promptly donated to a benefit show and is now living in a new home.

People seem to have strong opinions about “hearts” – a good friend of mine HATES heart images in anything ….while I live for the day after Valentine’s day sales.  I don’t collect hearts and I am not particularly sappy, but I am fond of love in general…and the color red….   Hate hearts?  Hmmm…

He is not alone either – at the benefit auction I heard some not so nice comments about the stupid hearts – ah well, someone liked it – besides me…  Definitely not going to please everyone.

How do you feel about heart-shaped items?

A to Z challenge here and on Sylvie Says…what the heck?  and on Creativity Explosion – H is for Hair (Grass Heads)



Posted in art

H is for Hair – Make your own Grass Head

Spring is the perfect time to start a Grass Head.  Kids love trimming the “hair” that sprouts about a week after putting it all together.
If you are doing this at home, I suggest everyone makes their own…adults enjoy coming up with hairstyles too!

Super easy, inexpensive, and fun to play with – what more could you ask for. These also make pretty cool gifts for kids to give to their friends or teachers.

  • Old nylon stockings or pantyhose.
  • Grass seeds. Rye or alfalfa seeds also work well.
  • Sawdust or potting mix or a handful of soil from your garden.
  • Small yogurt container.
  • Decorations. Goggly eyes, fabric scrap, colored paper for the bodies, fabric paint, pipe-cleaners for glasses…anything you have handy
  • Water-proof glue. The heads need to be watered, so be sure the glue you use can withstand a little soaking.


Cut off an 8-inch section of stocking that includes the toe. – If you are making several and need to use a center section, tie a knot on one end then turn it inside out to hide the knot.

Stretch the stocking over a large cup or mug, and spoon in about 2 teaspoons full of grass seeds.

Add sawdust or soil. The head should be about the size of a tennis ball when complete.

how to make grass heads step 4 Tie a knot to close the end. (Leave the tail.)


Now decorate!  Use fabric scraps or permanent marker to draw on the face, you can also make a bulbous nose or ears by grabbing a bit of stocking and twisting, then tie off with a piece of thread or a small rubber band.
Decorate the yogurt container with colored paper to make the body.

family fun magazine

Dip the head in water to moisten the soil, fill the yogurt container half-way full of water and then put the head on top.

Leave your little creation on a windowsill where it gets plenty of sunlight.

“Hair” takes about 1 week to sprout.

A full head of hair takes 3-4 weeks to grow….and then you can really have fun. Experiment with different hairstyles.  You can make mohawks, pony-tails, pig-tails, braids, crew cuts….

(but be prepared,  “greying and balding” will start to occur after about 6 weeks.)

without the yogurt cups is just as fun ….see the ears and nose, cute!



~ Blogging through the  A to Z Challenge~ here and on Sylvie Says ….What the Heck? and Tree Girly



H is for Heck, What the Heck?!

After work today, I had a meeting to attend…..it went on and on and on and on- as meetings often do. There is something odd that happens to people when they are forced to sit on folding chairs, drink bad coffee, and take notes. It’s as if time stands still and everyone has unlimited time to argue minor, no miniscule points, into oblivion.

My solution, send out text messages, gather responses, go with the majority. Not even email, text messages only. That’s it. That’s all. Done. No discussion, no storytelling, no arguing…. anyways after the night I had, this  H post is short. 

                   What the Heck?

I really like peppermints, so every so often I’ll buy a bag and stash it in my coffee cupboard. Not so unusual right?

My neighbor boy knows about my little secret stash and so when he comes over, he opens the cupboard and grabs a mint.

He saw me put a new bag in on a Friday and then I didn’t see him until Monday after school. That fateful afternoon he casually opened the cupboard to grab one and they were gone.   

He shouted, “What the HECK?”  “Where are the mints?”  “You ate a whole bag?” Completely exasperated he just couldn’t believe they were gone, ” What the HECK?”

First of all, yes – I ate the mints. I really like mints and it was a stressful weekend, judge me if you must.

“What the Heck?”  has turned into a running joke at my house….so when the his little sister came over for the day and shouted, “What the Heck?” in her tiny little four year old voice, no one could stop laughing.

Unfortunately, since the that phrase is a joke, it is used more often than not… “What the HECK?” Oh no, it’s spreading…

Yep, that’s my H post – if you are sitting there thinking, What the heck was that?… my apologies.

G is for Giraffe, Good Deed, and Giggles

Last year, my high school class created a puppet stage  for the preschool room complete with sock puppets. This was an end of year project, so we just used up the paint and supplies we had to create a cute set to present to the munchkins.  I cannot take much credit for this design, other than supply the material and offer a few suggestions, I watched as teams of normally reluctant high schoolers designed, painted and giggled through this good deed.

~*~*~blogging through the A to Z challenge – here and on Sylvie Says and Tree Girly ~*~*~*~

F is for FREE art supplies

Art supplies are expensive…especially if you are picky, and there are some items I am very picky about, namely pastels…..BUT since I spend so much on hard pastels, I get creative with everything else..Creative artists can find free art supplies all over the place. Aside from simply re-purposing your own stuff the following ideas may help you on your quest…

ASK – At the beginning of the school year, I put a little blurb in the school newsletter requesting miscellaneous stuff.  Actually the title of the post was “The Art Department Wants Your Junk”   The list included the usual items like magazines, maps, wood scraps, yarn, fabric…and any other random art items people have around their house. I was SHOCKED at the response. Not only did we have a ridiculous amount of what I asked for, I was also given a big box of plain fleece scarves, huge cardboard tubes from someone’s work, gorgeous pieces of wood trim that made nice bases for sculptures and lovely frames and surprisingly paint galore.

– I may have had an advantage because I asked for the kids at the school, but seeing how willing people were to unload their “junk” makes it easier to simply ask. :)

FREECYCLE – The found objects from this site can be remarkable.  They can be a pain with emails, but you can simply opt out and look on their site on your own time.

CRAIGSLIST –  Post under “wanted” and you may be pleasantly surprised.  The “for sale” section can also turn up some amazing deals – not free, but still amazing.

GET INVOLVED – I have also come across really amazing finds accidentally.  When volunteering at a local charity thrift shop, I was shocked to see boxes and boxes of record albums, wine glasses, and frames just tossed in the dumpster.  I asked, “what the heck is going on?”  and was told they couldn’t possibly sell all that comes in… wow. Guess what everyone on my Christmas list got that year – yep, record bowls and wine glass candles :)

……after that, the staff was quick to set artsy items aside for me to take a look at – stacks of sketch pads, quality watercolors and carving tools are now mine for pennies of what they would have cost.  – okay, not FREE, how about FRUGAL ?

MAKE IT YOURSELF –  There are a lot of art supply recipes that can easily pass for the expensive brands….in fact, I recently even came across a “recipe” for making my own pastels… I may just give it try.


Blogging through the A to Z Challenge here
and here Sylvie Says…F is for Favorites, Friendship and Facebook
and here Tree Girly … F is for Falling

Some of my recent articles that incorporate free, or nearly free, art supplies
Homemade Treasure Box: Inexpensive and Impressive Masking Tape Box
Things to Do with Sticks: Free Craft Resource
Tea Set Crafts: Three Fun Projects
Easy Earth Day Crafts for Kids: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Eco-friendly kids’ birthday party tips

E is for Eco-friendly

There is an endless variety of eco-friendly projects to be made. Using  just the materials at hand  may take a little creative compromising, but it is always satisfying to
rescue something that would have simply gone into the trash.  This does not mean making sandals from toilet paper tubes or other wacky crafts just for the sake of crafting.
Plenty of useful and attractive eco-friendly items can be created without a lot of work.

Recycle fabric and trim from damaged clothes, take a good look at the things you throw out – AND the things you purchase. This is not just a ‘save the earth’ sentiment – while that is important – saving your budget from unnecessary consumerism and teaching your kids how to conserve – AND be happy while doing it, is well worth the effort.

Book purses are a fun way to salvage damaged books.

Lunch bags from old tablecloths are MUCH more affordable than the $30+ designer lunch bags I’ve seen.

Bird Sculptures – which double as handy book ends – from nothing but a couple plastic store bags, newspaper, glue and a clothes hanger –
(two pins were pushed in to make the eyes.)


E is for Eco-Friendly …..and to be honest Running on Empty!   whew, what a day                     


Blogging through the A to Z Challenge here and at Sylvie Says… E for Eccentric  and Tree Girly-  E for Elephant