Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Great Big Kid's Collage

The creation of an art collage from the soul is an inner journey that allows your soul to speak to you. Your soul's voice can be heard through the images, feelings and insights that surface...
 ~Kathleen Carrillo

About a week ago I purchased a big poster frame.  This particular frame had a multiple photo mat.  I didn't need the mat for my poster but decided to keep it knowing I'd do something with it.


After a little thought I figured out a neat craft idea.  Not only would we fill this mat with pictures, but with artwork, poetry, scribbles, and stickers.  We won't be using the frame that came with it, but you can.  I also suggest finding smaller collage mat frames if you don't want to go this big.  This is an awesome project for siblings.  Each one makes their own to hang over their bed.

We started out by picking out pictures.  Maddie picked out pictures that were important to her and reflected people she loved (and furry babies), and things she enjoyed doing.  It was a trip down memory lane for me since she picked pictures from when she was much smaller.  You can either scan the pictures into your computer and print them, or do what I did and send them to photo processing place.  All the pictures I ordered cost about eight dollars.  We also went through all of Maddie's notebooks and found some drawings and poems.  I typed and printed the poetry.

We doodled

We pasted

We finished!

Now we just have to decide where to put it.  Since this particular collage mat doesn't have a frame, we'll probably put it up with thumb tacks.  It's a bit too heavy for tape.


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Stained glass...the Crayola way!

I have to admit, these stained glass markers are really cool.  They cost about $5.00 a pack.  We only bought one pack because I am skeptical of all "new" craft inventions. They often cost too much to continue using (you have to continuously buy special paper for the color explosion markers), or just get boring.  These markers?  WINNER!  They are awesome.

The concept is pretty simple.  The ink from the marker crystallizes as it dries.  You must use them on a glass surface.  They are completely erasable and do no damage to windows.  In my book these things are just as awesome as sidewalk chalk. 

Mt. Doom to the left and Barad' Dur on the right.  Maddie was in a LOTR mood.
The markers wash off very easily but you must make sure you wash them off completely.  Little smears will just result in spreading the marker around creating larger crystal sections.  No need to use soap, just a good, wet rag.

Have fun!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Let's Go to the Movies

Well, over the last three days, Maddie and I secluded ourselves in a little air conditioned bedroom, got juice and popcorn, and watched 12 hours of The Lord of the Rings.  3 movies. About 3 1/2 hours a piece.  Extended version only, of course.

So, this is one of the biggest questions about raising kids today.  How much TV/movies are OK, and what is appropriate.  I have a take on this, of course. I think you need to find a good medium. It's summer, and it's tempting to put a kid in front of the TV when the "I'm bored" diatribe begins.  Is there any way to eat up a little time without melting their tiny brains?  I think there is, but it requires you to be choosy.  Very, very choosy.

If you are going to pick movies, make sure to pick movies that expand their minds a little, and teach them something.  Try movies that are derived from books (not the other way around) and entice the little ones to read the book if they liked the movie.  It's far too easy to get the "Spongebob Squarepants Movie" and throw it into the DVD.  It takes a lot more time and effort to research movies and choose carefully.  I hope you'll choose carefully.  Remember, also, movies don't have to be movies.  You can find DVDs of educational programs such as Stephen Hawking's Universe, or Discovery Channel's Dual Survivor.

So, the big question: What are some good recommendations.  I have a few suggestions and I'll break them down into a few categories.  A tip: Before you run out and get a movie because it seems good, check it out at Kid's in Mind This is one of the best parent's guide to movies I've ever seen.  Kids see and hear far too many things that are not appropriate.  Please consider what they're watching and remember, PG is the new PG-13.  PG-13 is the new R.

Category One:  Book Movies


The best movies, in my opinion, are movies that connect back to their book.  Remember, there is "based on" and "inspired by."  Skip the "inspired by."  These movies are usually as far away from the original books as they can possibly be.  Here's a list of the best.

Inkheart (movie based on the novel of the same name by Cordelia Fudge)
The Lord of the Rings (A trilogy: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King)
Harry Potter (Seven movies: Sorceror's Stone, Chamber of Secrets, Prisoner of Azkaban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half-blood Prince, The Deathly Hallows Pt. 1 and 2)
Disney's Alice in Wonderland (a mash up of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass...still fun!).
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (Also make sure to take in the two subsequent movies: Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)
Charlotte's Web (I'm fond of the animated version, personally, but there is a live action if you prefer it).
The Golden Compass
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi (a near perfect telling of Kipling's story)
Coraline (Don't miss this story in either book or movie!)

Category Two: Adventure Movies

Journey to the Center of the Earth (This isn't an interpretation of the novel...this story uses the novel itself as the plot)
Star Trek (This is the re-boot.  All the Star Treks are kid friendly with only sci-fi action, but the new movies is a great summer experience).
National Treasure (This movie actually made my kids WANT to go to Independence Hall in Philly.  Bonus!)
Night at the Museum (This movie actually made my kids WANT to visit a museum! Bonus!)
The Goonies  (An all time classic BUT probably not good for little ones because of language)
The Princess Bride  (Do not miss this movie)
Thor (for older kids...superhero violence)
Captain America (for older kids...superhero violence)

Category Three: Fun Movies

Summer Magic (Don't forget Haley Mills!)
Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium (rated G. Perfect for everyone)
Mirror, Mirror (currently one of the few true PG movies to come out in a while)

I hope you take the time to take in some movies this summer.  There are several out in the theaters now, as of this publication, that are great.  Don't forget Brave, Madagascar 3, Ice Age: Continental Drift and DON'T MISS The Avengers!